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SafePal S1

🔍 Last analysed 7th July 2021 . No source for current release found

Without public source of the reviewed release available, this product cannot be verified!

As part of our Methodology, we ask:

Is the source code publicly available?

If the answer is "no", we mark it as "No source for current release found".

A wallet that claims to not give the provider the means to steal the users’ funds might actually be lying. In the spirit of “Don’t trust - verify!” you don’t want to take the provider at his word, but trust that people hunting for fame and bug bounties could actually find flaws and back-doors in the wallet so the provider doesn’t dare to put these in.

Back-doors and flaws are frequently found in closed source products but some remain hidden for years. And even in open source security software there might be catastrophic flaws undiscovered for years.

An evil wallet provider would certainly prefer not to publish the code, as hiding it makes audits orders of magnitude harder.

For your security, you thus want the code to be available for review.

If the wallet provider doesn’t share up to date code, our analysis stops there as the wallet could steal your funds at any time, and there is no protection except the provider’s word.

“Up to date” strictly means that any instance of the product being updated without the source code being updated counts as closed source. This puts the burden on the provider to always first release the source code before releasing the product’s update. This paragraph is a clarification to our rules following a little poll.

We are not concerned about the license as long as it allows us to perform our analysis. For a security audit, it is not necessary that the provider allows others to use their code for a competing wallet. You should still prefer actual open source licenses as a competing wallet won’t use the code without giving it careful scrutiny.

The product cannot be independently verified. If the provider puts your funds at risk on purpose or by accident, you will probably not know about the issue before people start losing money. If the provider is more criminally inclined he might have collected all the backups of all the wallets, ready to be emptied at the press of a button. The product might have a formidable track record but out of distress or change in management turns out to be evil from some point on, with nobody outside ever knowing before it is too late.

Help spread awareness for build reproducibility

Please help us spread the word discussing transparency with SafePal S1  via their Twitter!

Do your own research!

Try out searching for "lost bitcoins", "stole my money" or "scammers" together with the wallet's name, even if you think the wallet is generally trustworthy. For all the bigger wallets you will find accusations. Make sure you understand why they were made and if you are comfortable with the provider's reaction.

If you find something we should include, you can create an issue or edit this analysis yourself and create a merge request for your changes.

The Analysis 

The SafePal S1 can generate seed phrases upon setup, display and sign transactions, and claims to have a “100% offline air-gapped signing mechanism.”

Video from the official channel explaining how to set up the wallet. Video from a different channel demonstrating how to make transactions.

Security Flaws found by Kraken Security Labs

Kraken Security Labs tested SafePal for flaws. Their findings are published in this blogpost.

SafePal responded to these findings in a blogpost of their own.

One of Kraken’s findings involved open-source licensing violations:

The wallet contains the GPLv2 licensed U-Boot and Linux Kernel. The use of these GPL-licensed components requires Safepal to distribute the source code for their product so that users can inspect and modify the code running on the user’s device. We requested the source code from Safepal but they refused to provide it, which means that Safepal is violating GPL licensing. Violations like this have resulted in litigation and we have urged Safepal to disclose their source code.

In turn, SafePal stated that the hardware wallet’s firmware “will be open-sourced in 2021.”

As shared in many previous public meetups, speeches, and AMAs, open-source has always been a key milestone on the SafePal roadmap, and SafePal S1 Hardware Wallet will be open-sourced in 2021.

There have been a lot of debates about a wallet being open-sourced. Open-source enables the public to review the codes and inform the companies that own the code if there are any errors. It also allows malicious attempts such as copying and editing the code into a malicious version with a small effort. Considering this, open-source is a double-sided sword. SafePal has always taken this issue seriously and carefully. This year, SafePal will open-source the critical parts in the SafePal S1 Hardware Wallet for users to verify our security. Details will be disclosed when the time comes.

As of 2022-05-27, the SafePal S1’s source code is unforunately still not available for review.

(ml, dg)