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Intel launches the SGX map. That piece of hardware that has slightly older hardware that is compatible with so-called Software Guard eXtentions, which generate a kind of software enclave in which sensitive code can run safely.

Intel SGX is becoming more and more popular. SGX, short for Software Guard eXtensions, is a piece of technology that allows a processor to build a virtual secure enclave. In this enclave very sensitive code can run without being disturbed by external influences. Even the operating system does not affect the code in the enclave. This way, the shielded workoads are safe from very advanced malware infections or espionage.

SGX and Xeon

SGX is a feature built into a lot of new processors, but not yet rolled out across the entire Xeon scalable lineup. Such an integration is in the planning, but now that organisations are starting to see the usefulness of SGX more clearly, there is a demand from data centre providers to start working with SGX without the need for a future refresh of the infrastructure.

Intel heard that question, and built a SGX card especially for it. This card is built on the frame of a graphical accelerator, and fits into Xeon servers via the PCIe connection. This gives owners of data centres a way to work in a relatively budget-friendly way with the security benefits that SGX offers.

Launch control

On cpus for pcs, the enclaves are subject to strict rules. This is necessary, since in theory rogue code can also use the enclaves with all the nasty consequences that this entails. The fact that such a thing is not imaginary was recently revealed by security researchers. In principle, code intended for an enclave needs to be certified by Intel itself, but for use in data centres, the processor specialist takes a different approach. Together with the SGX card, Intel announces the Flexible Launch Control, which gives organizations more control over the startup of enclaves.

Intel is not yet communicating a price for the SGX card and also lacks an exact launch date, but the hardware should be available later this year.

Related: Security feature in Intel chips abused to hide malware

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.