AMERICAN MEGATRENDS INC (AMI) said it has introduced its AMIBIOS 8 which has an "emodule" that supports the "Trusted Computing Platform Alliance" (TCPA) specification.
Obviously, this is pretty secret stuff, otherwise we couldn't trust it.
AMI is hinting that the boot process is going to be quite a bit longer... possibly even booting us back into the 20th century.
The BIOS is already available to AMI's customers, it said.
According to the TCPA, the model lets computer security be enforced at the hardware level, so ensuring a "standardised" subsystem on every PC, which makes Internet based transactions safer.
That, at least, is how the TCPA sees it, along with its members which include AMD, Intel, IBM, HP, Microsoft and many another massive multinational corporation.
When you try and get into the part on the TCPA member site that tells you who the members are, it's password protected.
A document on the TCPA site defines what it means by trust: "The ability to feel confident that the software environment in a platform is operating as expected. This is done by reliably measuring and reliably reporting information about the platform".
Risible stuff which differs from the dictionary definition. And with Microsoft a key member of the group, is it really possible to feel confident the software environment on your PC is operating as expected? Last time we downloaded the critical updates to WinXP, our PC started crashing again, and we had to roll it back to the pre-critical update stable version. Is that what we're to expect, or what confidence means?
The TCPA subsystem, said AMI, uses a specialised chip or flash memory that contains the "TPM" and software which gets the TPM to cryptonise (encrypt) the BIOS and operating system.
AMI said that when a PC boots, AMI BIOS starts "a fairly long and complex process", with the BIOS boot block addressing the TPM chip that verifies the authenticity of the BIOS.
The BIOS then verifies the authenticity and integrity of the OS loader and the OS kernel and then passes the integrity tokens that say the PC is a "trusted entity" to the operating system.
"The trust subsystem intervenes even at boot up to verify the system authenticity, integrity and privacy".
Let's hope it's not too long a process eh, guys? Does it need to check our VAT registration number, our social security number and take a snap of our iris to make sure we are who we say we are?
What worries many people is that this "alliance", which is a very secretive organisation indeed, may head off third parties at the gulch which don't have a "trusted PC". As we've pointed out in previous articles, the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons are less secretive than this shower. µ
Microsoft Palladium gives EU the jitters
Will TCPA initiatives carve up free computing?
AMD's Opteron won't reject unlicensed content
Trusted Computing Platform Alliance is a secret cabal
Trusted Computing Platform Alliance - ancient news
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ