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Trusted Computing: Integrated Security that Starts at the Platform Level
How it Works
Trust Platform Module (TPM)
The Trusted Computing Platform Alliance (TCPA) defines a hardware device that is attached to the platform, as a Trust Platform Module (TPM).

Trust Platform Module (TPM)
Once the data is sealed inside the TPM with a storage key, the sealed data can only be accessed from this hard drive with this platform configuration.

Trust Platform Module (TPM)
If the TPM recognizes that a system has a different configuration, such as booted with a different operating system, access is denied. Learn how Trusted Computing builds security at the platform and system software levels.

As PCs become more like personal servers exchanging data across the Internet, peer-to-peer networks and devices such as PDAs and cell phones the opportunity for security breaches and virus attacks escalates. Intel, along with Compaq, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Microsoft and 160 other members of the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance (TCPA), are defining and developing standards and technologies that will improve computer security by adding progressive levels of protection across all computing devices.
Levels of trust
While traditional means of ensuring system security depend on adding layers of encryption and anti-virus software, Trusted Computing starts at the platform and pre-operating system levels. Once these environments are secured, domains within the computing environment are protected. Each domain builds on the previous one and requires that every transaction, inter-connection, and device be trusted, reliable, safe, and protected.
Starting at the Silicon Level
How does it work? Connected to the motherboard of a trusted platform is a Trusted Platform Module, which contains a unique digital signature of the platform's complete software configuration. When booted, the digital signature is recalculated and compared to previous signatures. If the signature can't be validated, connected computers and devices are notified of a change in the reported platform's state. Users can then decline transactions from the reported platform and notify others of a possible security breach.

The compromised platform is also prevented from accessing other platforms and connected devices until it's returned to its original state.
Value of Trusted Computing
With computer systems, devices and networks rapidly becoming the most common means of creating, storing, processing, and transmitting sensitive and often confidential information, the need for Trusted Computing is urgent.

Trusted Computing makes PCs easier, safer and more affordable to use because there's no need for additional security or encryption software. Businesses and individuals can work more efficiently and confidently knowing their computing devices are hardened against virus attacks that can disrupt productivity and result in costly security patches. In addition, valuable data such as credit card numbers, medical records and intellectual property are kept safe from unauthorized break-ins.

Learn more about building the foundation for Trusted Computing.

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