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Samsung Knox Vault Layers
Samsung Knox Vault Layers (Image credit: Samsung)

Best answer: Samsung Knox is a multi-layer security platform built into Android on Samsung devices, including software and hardware isolation for sensitive data.

What is Samsung Knox?

Samsung Knox is a layer, or rather several layers, of security protection included in the software of many Samsung phones. Some high-end Galaxy devices even have hardware isolation for even greater security. These layers help protect your data from exploits by isolating your data and reducing the effectiveness of exploits. This means that an exploit in one app doesn't allow access to the rest of your phone.

Samsung Knox is built into the software of most Samsung devices that release using Android, so if you have a Samsung from the past couple of years, there's a good chance you benefit from these protections. Some of the best budget phones you can buy are Samsung Galaxy A series phones like the Galaxy A52, and they come with Knox.

For the most part, Samsung Knox protects things like passwords, biometrics data, and your payment information in Samsung Wallet. There is, however, another step that's only included in highest-end Galaxy devices.

How is Knox Vault different?

Knox Secure Folder

Source: Samuel Contreras / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Knox Vault takes Knox to the next level with an isolated OS (operating system) and hardware for your secure information. Knox Vault is available on newer Galaxy S devices like the Galaxy S21 and the new Galaxy S22 series of phones. Samsung Knox with Samsung Knox Vault is also included on the new Galaxy Tab S8 series with all three models.

On a device like the Galaxy S22 Plus, a separate OS runs alongside Android to create another layer of separation between apps and your data. This OS runs on the Knox Vault Processor, built into the main SOC. This processor is connected to the Knox Vault Storage, which is physically isolated from your phone's main storage.

While this can seem like overkill, the idea is to cover as many angles as possible before an attack can be conceived. For example, if a vulnerability is uncovered in Android, that does not allow access to the Vault Storage. The main OS will still need to use Samsung's applets to request anything in the vault. The Knox Processor can also handle things like biometrics, so there is no need to transfer sensitive information to process an unlock.

Isolating components on a physical level decreases potential attack vectors. The Knox Vault hardware is also sensitive to physical attacks and can destroy data if there is a laser light or electromagnetic fault injection attempt.

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.