OnQ Blog

How can Snapdragon 845 guard your smartphone data like a vault?

New security architecture delivers a new layer of hardware security

Mar 8, 2018

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

64 percent of Americans have personally experienced a major data breach, according to a 2016 cybersecurity report by the Pew Research Center. So, offering enhanced security technology to our customers was a top priority for us when we built our premium-tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform.

The Snapdragon 845 features a new architecture that is engineered to help secure the valuable data and credentials that users store on their mobile devices like a vault. A new layer of hardware security — the Secure Processing Unit (SPU) — is added to the Snapdragon 845 mobile platform which is designed to guard data just like you physically protect your own personal valuable items.

Building on our history of device security across Snapdragon mobile platforms, the additional security functionality of our SPU was developed to support enhanced, security-focused experiences like mobile payments, engineered to give you an additional level of comfort to accomplish more on your mobile device.

Protecting your data in a self-contained, vault-like environment

Security attacks change and grow in their sophistication, and will continue to do so. Because of this, we will continue to change and grow our security solutions within our mobile processors.

The SPU was designed to be segregated from your CPU and all parts of your device and is totally self-contained within the Snapdragon mobile processor. One of its main roles is to generate and utilize unique cryptographic digital keys that aim to help protect your data by encrypting the files you create, optimized for a superior level of protection. So even if malware penetrates your device to a point where it can access the keys processed by the main CPU, access to any of the keys now stored and managed by the SPU can be prevented.

The SPU resides on its own power grid and boots by itself. It has its own, separate, dedicated CPU and its own RAM to run code in. It also has its own crypto-engines and key management facility, designed to allow it to efficiently encrypt and decrypt whatever packets of information are needed.

The Snapdragon 845’s SPU operates in a self-contained environment with its own power grid, CPU, and crypto-engines.

What does the SPU mean for device makers in the future?

For device makers, it’ll be an opportunity to bring together what were traditionally different components – like secure chips in SIMs or banking cards – into the Secure Processing Unit. Devices can be smaller and more integrated due to the reduction in number of components, while meeting the requirements of security-critical applications.

All of us are targets of hacking. Many security experts suggest that it’s not a question of if, but when, someone will attempt to steal our personal data for nefarious purposes. The SPU dramatically raises the bar on your device’s security, as it is optimized to support the vault-like environment containing your critical digital assets.


Qualcomm Snapdragon is a product of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Eden Cohen

Staff Manager, Product Management

©2021 Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its affiliated companies.

References to "Qualcomm" may mean Qualcomm Incorporated, or subsidiaries or business units within the Qualcomm corporate structure, as applicable.

Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm's licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm's engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses. Qualcomm products referenced on this page are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Materials that are as of a specific date, including but not limited to press releases, presentations, blog posts and webcasts, may have been superseded by subsequent events or disclosures.

Nothing in these materials is an offer to sell any of the components or devices referenced herein.