Crypto Glossary

Hardware Security Module

A hardware security module is a type of computing device that secures digital keys and encrypts data.

What Is a Hardware Security Module (HSM)?

A hardware security module (HSM) is a computing device consisting of either a single or multiple processor chips and is used to secure digital keys, encrypt data and offer enhanced safety during cryptographic authentications. 

HSMs are utilized in enterprises to protect data verification and transactions, and must follow strict certification, following the requirements of the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS). It must also use customized hardware, a secure OS, cryptographically stored and protected data secure networking 

HSM hardware can be either general-purpose or transaction/payment or cloud-based. 

  • The first category is used in generic data protection applications and cryptocurrency wallets. 
  • Transaction/payment HSMs are customized for digital payments, helping to secure PIN technology and electronic funds transfers (ETF)
  • Lastly cloud-based HSM platforms and offerings include Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

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