Whatever method of storing and transferring monetary value you use (cash and cheques; digital fiat money or cryptocurrency) there will always be someone trying to steal from you. How to stop them succeeding is a constant battle and each technology has its particular inherent vulnerability or vulnerabilities.
In the case of cryptocurrency, or more specifically the blockchain technology on which it is based, one such vulnerability has, until now, been how the “private key” is stored.
The private (or secret) key is a sort of password that is used to digitally sign transactions that are then entered onto the blockchain. If a private key gets stolen, the thief can sign on behalf of the original owner and post irreversible transactions in the blockchain in his own favour.
No matter how securely you store your private key on your computer or smartphone, it always has to be exposed in the device’s memory when it’s used (to digitally sign something). That’s the inherent vulnerability and it just takes a virus with some malware or spyware to sniff the memory at the right moment, and the damage is done.
This is where the Sound Key comes in. It is a device, very similar to banks’ OTP devices, to store your private key outside your computer or smartphone’s memory, and to digitally sign documents or blockchain transactions offline and therefore safely.
How the Sound Key works:
- The Sound Key connects to computers or cellphones through the headset port.
- The transaction data, as yet unsigned, are sent to the Sound Key via the audio port on your computer or smartphone.
- Having verified that the unsigned data in the Sound Key display is correct, type your password in the device to safely digitally sign the transaction.
- That’s it. Your transaction is signed, sealed, and ready to be delivered.
- The Sound Key will then transmit the signature back to your device through the audio or speaker port.
- At no stage does your secret key ever leave its safe place inside the Sound Key.
It’s anticipated that within a few years this kind of device will become widespread and popularly regarded as a necessity.
The Sound Key is currently a prototype, and we want to bring you the best of what it can do. We are therefore working not only on the device itself, but also on the accompanying software development kit, to be backed by good customer support, so that innovators and users alike can benefit from it as much as possible.
10 Reasons to support the Sound Key:
- It’s the first device of its kind.
- It’s backed by private investors, so even if we don’t reach our pre-order goal, you will get your Sound Key when we start shipping.
- You can brand it with your own logo thanks to our whitebox option (minimum order applies).
- It comes with a development kit, to integrate its features into any app and website!
- It can be used with any cryptocurrency and other digital signatures (more signature algorithms will be implemented with time).
- It can encrypt and decrypt any kind of data (size limit applies based on model).
- It keeps your private key physically out of reach of malicious programs and people, as it NEVER leaves the device (the signature and encryption/decryption take place IN the device).
- The top model of the Sound Key can encrypt voice messages, without supplementary software, to be decrypted by a specific public key, and thanks to the audio connections, the encrypted messages can be sent via email, IM, or other apps.
- It can be used to identify users on websites or over the phone.
- Oh, and it talks 🙂
If you want to see this idea come to life, come and give us a hand with our crowdfunding campaign.
You can learn more about the Sound Key project at: www.TheSoundKey.com.
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