PC Chip Will Protect Users From Hackers and Viruses

Sep 16, 2004
PC Chip Will Protect Users From Hacker and Viruses

IBM First PC Manufacturer to Equip Its Desktop PCs with New Security Technology From National Semiconductor

National Semiconductor today introduced two SafeKeeper™ Trusted Input/Output (I/O) devices, new hardware products designed to embed security into desktop and notebook computer motherboards. These devices allow PC manufacturers to protect their customers' computer systems from hackers and viruses.

IBM is the first manufacturer to equip selected models of its desktop computers with National Semiconductor’s SafeKeeper Trusted I/O devices. “IBM has led the industry in developing secure, manageable systems since pioneering embedded PC security in 1999,” said Clain Anderson, program director of wireless and security solutions, IBM Personal Computing Division. “Security, encryption and password management are key components of IBM ThinkVantage Technologies, which simplify the PC user experience and reduce management costs for organizations of all sizes. Using National Semiconductor’s Trusted I/O chip for our newly launched desktop models helps make IBM ThinkCentre models featuring the IBM Embedded Security Subsystem the most secure industry-standard desktop PCs you can buy.”

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, protect computer software, such as BIOS, operating systems and applications, from unauthorized or malicious attacks. IBM has used TPMs since 1999.

Why Offer Computer Security in Hardware?
In an era of increased national security concerns and weekly reports of malicious attacks on PC systems, companies and consumers rely primarily on software programs to protect corporate and personal information. Unfortunately, these software-based security solutions are still vulnerable to attacks. In contrast, National’s Trusted I/O devices integrate the TPM into the existing PC architecture (Super I/O), storing the computer’s identity in silicon and making it virtually impossible for outsiders to locate key information.

Hardware solutions provide a stronger foundation for a secure computing infrastructure than stand-alone software systems. This infrastructure provides protected storage of cryptographic or sensitive data, authenticates a host computing device by verifying its identity to other computing devices, and supplies metrics that provide a reliable and trusted network environment.

Key Technology Features and Benefits
National’s SafeKeeper family includes two parts, the PC8374T Desktop and PC8392T Notebook Trusted I/O devices, which are based on National’s embedded 16-bit CompactRISC® core technology. Both reside on the low-pin-count (LPC) bus, an ideal place for integration because it sits at the intersection of input devices to the PC.

Since these new Trusted I/O devices are pin- and software-compatible with National’s current Super I/O products, system engineers easily can create a dual-system design that can accept either part. This gives manufacturers flexibility to design “TPM-ready” systems without designing in an additional empty socket.

Industry Standards and Partnerships
National developed its Trusted I/O devices to meet the Trusted Computing Group's TPM 1.1b specification. TCG developed these specifications with industry-leading system, silicon and software providers to create standard interfaces and interoperability between hardware and software layers. These industry standard interfaces allow National to partner with security software developers such as IBM and Wave Systems Corp. to offer customers multiple software solutions that work in conjunction with National’s integrated hardware.

Pricing and Availability
National’s Desktop PC8374T Trusted I/O device is available now in a PQFP-128 package and is priced at $5 each in 1,000-unit volumes. The Notebook PC8392T Trusted I/O device will be available in the fourth quarter of 2004 and will be priced at $7 each in 1,000-unit volumes. All packages are available lead-free.

Explore further: Google hits back at rivals with futuristic HQ plan

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Challenges for doctors using fitness trackers and apps

Feb 20, 2015

More hospitals and doctors are starting to use data from fitness trackers and health apps to help treat patients. But they are moving cautiously. The technology has a lot of potential, but there are key ch ...

Parenting tech keeps tabs on children

Feb 12, 2015

American parents may not have the resources of the National Security Agency, but it's not that hard for them to snoop on their smartphone-addicted kids.

One year on, Nadella shifting focus at Microsoft

Feb 08, 2015

With one year under his belt, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has made strides in changing the focus of the technology giant that some feared was turning into a dinosaur.

Recommended for you

Google hits back at rivals with futuristic HQ plan

Feb 27, 2015

Google unveiled plans Friday for a new campus headquarters integrating wildlife and sweeping waterways, aiming to make a big statement in Silicon Valley—which is already seeing ambitious projects from Apple ...

Barclays to allow payments by using Twitter handles

Feb 27, 2015

The next chapter in banks moving into the digital age is a stretch beyond reminding customers over phone lines that they can also bank online. Barclays has launched Twitter payments through Pingit.

Pebble smartwatch nears Kickstarter record

Feb 27, 2015

The latest version of the Pebble smartwatch neared a record funding amount on Kickstarter on Friday amid growing interest in wearable tech and ahead of the highly anticipated Apple Watch launch.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.