IBM has begun using new security hardware from National Semiconductor in its desktop PCs in an effort to fend off viruses and hackers.
National Semiconductor's SafeKeeper Trusted I/O devices add to its existing chip design a "trusted platform module" , a micro controller that stores passwords, digital certificates and encryption keys.
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The idea behind hardware-based security is that information stored in a PC's firmware is less vulnerable to attack than data protected only by software.
TPM-stored data can, for instance, be used to authenticate a computer on a network, providing identity information in a way that is harder to forge.
IBM, which has used TPMs in its PCs for the past five years, said the devices are being used in ThinkCentre models featuring its IBM Embedded Security Subsystem.
Stacy Cowley writes for IDG News Service