What is a “chip attack” and are Ballet Cold Storage Cards vulnerable?

The risk of a chip attack is not relevant to Ballet products because they do not contain microchips or any other electronic components. However, it is an issue that electronic hardware wallet users should be aware of.

The term “chip attack” refers to the act of physically manipulating the microchip of a crypto hardware wallet in order to extract the unencrypted private keys that control the assets stored on the device. Chip attacks require an extremely high level of technical expertise to perform, but the concept is relatively simple: cause a hardware wallet’s microchip to malfunction in such a way that reveals the unencrypted private keys. 

One method of attack is to manipulate the device’s power supply to cause the chip to malfunction (glitch), potentially bypassing security protections. This is called voltage glitching. Alternatively, glitching can be achieved by focusing a laser at specific points on the microchip. 

Example of voltage glitching attack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT9y-KQbqi4

Example of laser glitching attack: https://blog.coinkite.com/donjon-faults-2023/

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