Microsoft is boosting security through hardware in Windows 10 PCs, phones

Starting July 28, the company will require new Windows 10 PCs, tablets, and smartphones to ship with TPM 2.0, a hardware-based security layer

The burden of Microsoft's efforts to secure Windows 10 is now falling on PC, tablet, and smartphone makers.

Microsoft is making a hardware-based security feature called TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 2.0 a minimum requirement on most Windows 10 devices. Starting July 28, the company will require device manufacturers shipping PCs, tablets and smartphones to include TPM 2.0.

TPM has been available for years, mostly on business PCs. TPM 2.0 provides a hardware layer to safeguard user data by managing and storing cryptographic keys in a trusted container.

The TPM requirement "will be enforced through our Windows Hardware Certification program," Microsoft said in a blog post.

Hardware makers will need to implement TPM 2.0 in the form of chips or firmware. TPM will be activated by default, though it's not certain if users will have the option to disable it.

TPM could lead to wider use of two-factor authentication in Windows 10 to log into PCs, applications and Web services. For example, Windows Hello -- a biometric authentication technique using face, fingerprint, or iris recognition -- could be used along with encryption keys in TPM chips to authenticate users.

TPM 2.0 has important security enhancements over the aging TPM 1.2, and is a "minimum hardware requirement for Windows 10 going forward," Microsoft said in a presentation at UEFI PlugFest in late March.

Many new business laptops, hybrids, and tablets with Intel chips already include TPM 2.0. Low-cost PCs typically don't have TPM, but will now need to comply with Microsoft's new hardware requirements. Some Windows laptops now ship with TPM 1.2.

Microsoft is also making TPM 2.0 a requirement for Windows 10 smartphones.

TPM 2.0 won't be a requirement for devices like Raspberry Pi 3 with Windows 10 IoT Core, a slimmed down version of the desktop Windows 10 OS.

"The goal is to make the PC a more secure platform," said Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research. Windows is one of the least secure OSes around, he added.

Microsoft is also encouraging Windows 10 PC users to move to advanced hardware like Intel's Skylake chips, which are more secure than previous platforms.

TPM 2.0 is a specification from Trusted Computing Group, and it was approved as an international standard by ISO/IEC (the International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission) in June last year.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobile phonesMicrosoftWindows

More about IntelISOMicrosoft

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Agam Shah

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place