Microsoft is working on a new chip to protect the security keys used by a machine. The so-called Pluton chip serves as a successor to the TPM chips but should be more secure because the chips are mounted on the processors themselves.
The existing Trusted Platform Modules take on a number of security-related tasks, such as generating and storing security keys. They can also be used to check system integrity.
However, the chip is not completely secure. The problem is that the TPM and the processor communicate with each other via a bus. A malicious person with physical access to the computer in question could theoretically extract the traffic moving through this bus and thus access sensitive data, Microsoft writes in a blog post.
Microsoft wants to solve this problem by integrating the module into the processor itself. According to Microsoft, this would not only solve the vulnerability of the communication bus, but the processors would also be better protected against security holes such as Spectre or Meltdown.
To implement such chips into processors, Microsoft does need to have the companies that actually produce the processors on its side. The company seems to have succeeded in this as it announces a partnership with AMD, Intel and Qualcomm.
Microsoft has not yet shared a timeline when the first processors with Pluton modules appear on the market.