Microsoft has announced they would be integrating a new chip named Pluton to make future Windows devices far more difficult to break into than ever before. The company said the new Pluton chip will be baked right into the processor itself to make future hardware almost impregnable.
As of now, Microsoft uses the Trusted Platform Module or TPM to secure the entire range of Windows hardware. However, the system still has a loophole in that it communicates with the CPU via the bus interface. This provides an opportunity; howsoever small it might be for the hackers to attempt having access to the sensitive data going to and fro between the CPU and the TPM.
However, with the Pluton chip containing the secured data stored right within the CPU itself, hackers will have almost zero changes to inject any malicious code while the data is being exchanged between the CPU and security chip. With the TPM currently serving as the backbone of BitLocker and Windows Hello security features, things are going to be far more secure once Pluton takes over.
While Pluton will be taking care of information such as user identities, encryption keys, and personal data, the biggest positive with the chip is that the data can’t be extracted from Pluton even if the hacker has physical access to the hardware or has injected malware into it.
Plus, Pluton will also be using the Secure Hardware Cryptography Key (SHACK) technology which makes sure no information ever leaves the hardware, even if it is the Pluton firmware that is seeking such info.
Interestingly, the Pluton concept isn’t entirely new given that Microsoft already has it implemented on its Xbox consoles. That makes the consoles extremely secure while also making it impossible to play pirated games. In fact, Microsoft had first introduced the Pluton on the Xbox One way back in 2013.
However, the discovery of security shortcomings such as Spectre or Meltdown might have prompted Microsoft to adopt a more stringent security feature that is going to be future proof. It is here that the Pluton comes into the picture.
Things have also taken off the ground what with leading chipmakers such as Intel, Qualcomm, and AMD actively collaborating to see the Pluton chip is integrated into all future processors that the companies come up with in the future. However, it is not known as of now when we can expect the Pluton integrated processors will be ready or when the first Windows devices with the Pluton chips make it to the market.