National Provides Security for Notebooks With Its SafeKeeper Trusted I/O Device

January 25, 2005
SafeKeeper

IBM Is First Manufacturer to Equip Notebooks With National’s Trusted Platform Module

National Semiconductor announced today that IBM selected National’s SafeKeeper Notebook Trusted Input/Output security device for IBM’s latest notebook computer, the IBM ThinkPad T43.
Announced January 19, IBM’s thin and light ThinkPad T43 features a multi-layered security approach for managing ever-increasing security threats. National’s SafeKeeper Notebook Trusted Input/Output (I/O) device, based on the industry-standard Trusted Platform Module, provides the foundation for this layered secure computing infrastructure and helps IBM’s customers protect their notebooks from hackers and Trojan horse viruses. The Trusted I/O device stores vital elements of the computer’s identity in silicon, making it virtually impossible for outsiders to read or modify that information.

“National and IBM recognize that intellectual property must be protected on notebooks no matter where a company’s employees are located,” said Jonathan Levy, general manager of National’s Advanced PC Division. “With IBM’s desktop PCs already relying on National’s SafeKeeper technology, their customers can be assured that they have secure industry-standard products whether they are in the office or on-the-go.”

Unlike other security hardware, National’s Trusted I/O devices integrate a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), Super I/O and embedded firmware to implement industry-standard Trusted Computing Group security functions. TPMs are microcontrollers that securely store passwords, digital certificates and encryption keys for PCs and other systems. These devices, which comply with Trusted Computing Group (TCG) specifications, can be used to protect computer software, such as BIOS, operating systems and applications, from unauthorized snoopers or malicious attacks. IBM has used TPMs since 1999.

National’s Notebook Trusted I/O security device is based on its embedded 16-bit CompactRISC core technology. It resides on the low-pin-count (LPC) bus, an ideal place for integration because it sits at the intersection of input devices to the PC. Pin- and software-compatibility with the company’s current Super I/O products allows system engineers to easily create dual-system designs that can accept either part. This gives manufacturers the flexibility to design “TPM-ready” systems without designing in an additional empty socket.

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