Crypto Terms: Letter S

What is Secure Element?

Secure Element MEANING:
Secure Element - a hardware chip that can run a certain number of apps, store private information, and provide controlled access.
1 minute

Let's find out Secure Element meaning, definition in crypto, what is Secure Element, and all other detailed facts.

A secure element (SE) is a hardware chip that can run a set of programs, store confidential data, and grant controlled access. Depending on the application, the SE microprocessor chip is excellent for handling payment information, personal identification numbers (PIN), passwords, and other private information. 

It has a highly arbitrary EAL rating of 1-7 and is generally used in the cryptocurrency world to permanently seal and secure private keys in hardware wallets like CoolWallet, Ledger, or any other.

There are a few different types of secure elements – microSD hardware cards, universal integrated circuit cards (UICCs), embedded SE, and cloud-based SE. Talking about embedded SE, it enables SE elements to be pinned to the motherboard of a device. Either embedded UICCs or embedded SEs fall under this type of security elements.

In consideration of cloud-based SE, it lowers the cost of running a host device's physical hardware chip. Besides, it offers an effortless user experience without sacrificing the security that microprocessors give.

Access restriction is the main feature of SE and it allows to provide unparalleled security. Only pre-installed programs are supported by the chip, which provides reading and writing access solely to trusted devices and apps like virtual storage and point-of-sale terminals.

Some of the other features that secure elements have include:

  • Detecting hacking attempts and alterations (when applied on a hardware level).
  • Storing important private data, such as encryption keys, in secure memory.
  • Producing key combinations to run asymmetric encryption.

Authentication, contactless or NFC payments, digital signatures, cryptocurrency wallets, and other important areas rely on SE.