Google Created Faster Encryption for Low-End Android Phones and IoT Devices

adiantum logo on a board full of android drawings

Low-resource Android phones and IoT devices do not have the processing power to use modern encryption services, making them vulnerable to hacking. That's why Google is launching Adiantum, an ultra-fast encryption standard for resource-constrained Android devices.

Popular Android phones, such as Google Pixel or any other Samsung Galaxy device, are built around the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). With AES, all information on your phone is encrypted and only verified users can access the data. But many Android phones and smart devices can not use AES because they do not have enough processing power to quickly encrypt and decrypt information. In addition, they generally do not have built-in security features, such as fingerprint scanners or iris scanners. This leaves low-resource Android devices, including smart watches and IOT products, very easy to compromise.

As you may know, Android is the main operating system in developing countries. It is free, it already contains many applications and is supported on low-end devices. Google is even made a duty to create the Android Go OS, optimized for smartphones with few resources. This is really a good thing because cheap phones have brought the Internet to many developing countries. But in some ways it has accelerated a security problem.

Manufacturers are able to install Android OS on devices that have few resources, such as cheap phones, inexpensive tablets, smart watches, smart TVs, and smart home products. Here's the problem: Most of these devices are not powerful enough to work with Advanced Encryption Standard. This leaves the devices with low resources vulnerable to piracy.

Meet Adiantum

Obviously, in this situation, Google has two choices: ignore the problem or find a way to encrypt cheap devices. Fortunately, the company chose the latter option.

Adiantum is the answer to AES with few resources. It can encrypt and decrypt information five times faster than AES and requires virtually no processing power from the phone or smart device. This new encryption standard should increase the security of cheap phones in developing countries and make your smart home products less vulnerable to piracy.

bar chart showing that Adiantum is 5 times faster than AES

Google has spent a lot of time developing Adiantum and, even though it has not spent a lot of time in the real world, developers are convinced that Adiantum is the future of phones and IoT devices with limited resources.

Google's security team is smart to focus so much on IoT devices. At present, the public is very concerned about the safety of smart home products, and while all phones will eventually be powerful enough to use AES, we can not say the same about IoT devices. Smart home products are getting smaller and smarter, so we'll need security solutions like Adiantum to keep all of our encrypted information without using too much processing power. To learn more about Adiantum, including all the technical details, click on the link below.

Source: Google Security Blog


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