Microsoft has collaborated with Qualcomm, Intel, and AMD to introduce its new Pluton architecture, a processor designed to offer enhanced security for Windows PCs. In its announcement today, Microsoft said that Pluton will guard against the attacks that increasingly target the communication channel between the CPU and TPM.
Many modern PCs feature a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which is hardware designed to improve security and, in the case of Windows, power features like BitLocker and Windows Hello. In its Pluton announcement, Microsoft pointed out that attacks targeting the TPM have become ‘sophisticated’ at targeting the communication between the TPM and CPU.
According to Microsoft, it designed Pluton to remove this potential point of attack by integrating it with the CPU. Features that rely on the TPM will utilize an emulated TPM on these machines, meaning things like BitLocker will continue to work.
The Pluton processor will be tasked with protecting critical information like encryption keys and login credentials, Microsoft explains, noting that neither physical access to the machine nor malware can compromise the data stored within the processor.
Pluton is isolated from the rest of the system and utilizes Secure Hardware Cryptography Key (SHACK) tech to help protect user data. PCs that feature Pluton will get firmware updates integrated with the general Windows update process. Microsoft notes that it based Pluton on the same security tech used in Xbox consoles.
The company didn’t provide any details on when Windows PCs with Pluton security will hit the market.