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Tuesday | September 28, 2021
What is TPM?

What is TPM?

With the arrival of Windows 11, some people have discovered a “new” component capable of ruining their hope of upgrading their Windows to the new Microsoft OS. Clearly, until a few days ago, who had really heard of the Trusted Platform Module 2.0 aka TPM? If you have a PC that is less than 3 years old, you can rest easy, otherwise, the compatibility checker delivered by Microsoft will probably give you some cold sweats. TPM security

What does TPM do?

David Weston, head of OS security at Microsoft, explains that the purpose of TPM is to ” protect encryption keys, user credentials and other sensitive data behind a hardware barrier so that malware and hackers cannot access or alter that data. In other words, TPM is a hardware security feature that stores confidential information in a special space that is better protected from external attacks. The device was originally designed for enterprises. TPM is not the be-all and end-all in terms of security anyway, but it does make things much more difficult. This is especially true for remote attacks. But for Microsoft the requirement of TPM also means that Windows 11 will have security features such as secure boot, hardware isolation and hypervisor code integrity enabled by default…laudable intentions for our daily security but which may hide other motivations.

TPM, security as justification but not only…

The TPM can also be used to protect copyright and thus prevent the use of cracked software. It also seems that Microsoft has patents allowing to implement “anti-cheat” protections on some popular online games. A toolbox on which the Redmond giant does not advertise too much but which could please publishers.

TPM is what? a chip, a card? where is it in my PC

TPM c'est quoi TPM started its career as an embedded chip on some PC motherboards, but in recent years processor manufacturers have added it as a feature of their processors. So you can find TPM in various forms in your PC. In fact, it has often been there for a long time, we didn’t bother with it because we clearly weren’t interested in it. For example, if you have an Intel CPU from this list or an AMD CPU from this list, you don’t have to worry about it, your machine meets the MS requirements. All you have to do is go to your bios and enable a feature called “PTT” for Intel systems and “PSP fTPM” for AMD systems. So if we have to stay on CPUs, the first Ryzen and Threadripper processors of the first generation will not support TPM. On the Intel side, all 6th and 7th generation Core processors are not supported either. Don’t panic though, because in front of the small controversy generated by this “blockage”, Microsoft has announced solutions to extend the list of officially supported processors for Windows 11 by adding some older generations of Intel and AMD chips. For the moment, the official communication on the subject is still nebulous though. And if that really wasn’t enough, there is another way for those who have an older processor: using a small TPM 2.0 module that can be connected to your motherboard. This little module has also triggered a small wind of madness a few hours after the arrival of the ISO beta of Windows 11 for download

What is Microsoft’s goal with TPM?

Microsoft wants to protect us better… The first objective and the one that is officially pushed in Microsoft’s argument is obviously security. And clearly this is a valid and hardly debatable reason. TMP security There are now more than 1.3 billion Windows 10 PCs connected to the net in the world. With the generalization of the 100% connected PC, attacks are multiplying and now take several forms. From blackmail in relation to the theft of personal data to cyber stalking, through ransomware campaigns or the theft of banking data, the risks to which individuals and companies are exposed are exploding. Having a secure and reliable environment is now a major argument for the user’s peace of mind…But not only. …To better cash in? As we saw earlier, with the TPM requirement, Microsoft could in the future connect all this to a multitude of technologies related to security but with a much wider scope. We are obviously thinking of the piracy that has been almost synonymous with the PC for years. Who today uses 100% purchased programs on their PC? This is mainly the Achilles heel of the PC in the gaming industry. Several technical solutions could allow Microsoft to secure the Windows environment around piracy issues and ensure publishers a better profitability. Other technological bricks could also be deployed for online gaming or to put an end to controversies on social networks by limiting anonymity in some way. In short, beyond “classic” security, which is a fundamental need that is increasingly felt, it is a whole new area of business that Microsoft can (and wants to?) open up. This is something to think about.

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Edited by Calliers

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