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TCG releases TPM 2 specification for improved security

Warwick Ashford

The Trusted Computing Group (TCG) has announced the availability of the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 library specification.

TPMs are designed to provide a secure root of trust to protect data in computers and mobile devices from digital and physical attacks, theft or loss.

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According to the TCG, the latest TPM specification provides “a critical vendor-neutral technology response” to the global need for a more secure computing environment.

Since 2006, many new computing devices have been sold with a built-in TPM chip, but few enterprises have so far embraced the technology in their information security strategies.

But Microsoft’s decision to focus on active embedded hardware security in Windows 8 is expected to bring the TPM into the mainstream for enterprises.

The TPM specification is based on contributions and feedback from TCG member companies and security technology experts from silicon makers, device makers, software providers, researchers, governments and academic institutions.

The TCG also is making available the PC Client Platform TPM Profile (PTP) specification, the first in a series of specifications to enable developers and manufacturers to design TPMs into their products.

Specifications for additional platforms, including mobile devices and embedded systems will follow, the TCG said.

Hundreds of millions of TPMs are embedded into PCs, servers, networking gear, embedded systems and other computing devices.

They can be used to help protect computers against unauthorised changes from malware, rootkit attacks and similar malicious activities. 

TPMs enable more secure processes within the system, such as digital signatures and key exchanges.

The TPM can also help ensure that unsafe, unverified or out-of-date systems do not connect to a corporate network by providing a built-in means to authenticate devices and users.

The TPM 2.0 specification responds to the exponential explosion of devices that require protection from cyber threats both inside and outside the traditional enterprise system firewalls, the TCG said.

With growing market demand for enhanced security and privacy, TPM 2.0 is designed to offer comprehensive protections based on hardware roots of trust. 

“Together with support for upgraded cryptographic algorithms, the TPM 2.0 specification is designed with cryptographic agility to allow support for more algorithms in the future,” the TCG said.

TPM 2.0 is also designed to offer the flexibility for industry implementations across a broad range of platforms including servers, desktops, embedded systems, mobile devices and network equipment. 

To accommodate all of these different platforms, the new specification enables the TCG to develop platform specific specifications using TPM 2.0 to meet the requirements of each platform.


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