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Microsoft collaborates with chip makers to enhance computer security


Microsoft said Tuesday that it has developed security technology that chip makers Intel and AMD plan to integrate into personal computer processors to enhance their ability to ward off hackers and cyberattacks.

Intel and AMD said the chips with the new technology — which Microsoft calls Pluton — will be ready in the next few years. Qualcomm expressed support for this approach but declined to disclose its intention to incorporate technology into its chips.

For years, Microsoft and chip companies have been seeking ways to enhance computer protection by securing important information, such as passwords, and security certificates in devices, making it difficult for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in a single software, or part of the device, and to use that vulnerability to control the entire device.

Microsoft's design will ensure directly into the main computer processor, making it difficult to penetrate personal computers and laptops, and will provide greater consistency in the security of personal computers if the technology is widely used.

The security feature of the chip outweighs software-based protection, especially since physical access to the device is usually required for penetration, compared to the risk of a remote attack over the Internet. This has become even more important during the new CORONAvirus (COVID-19) pandemic because many of the company's employees are working remotely with home appliances rather than behind the company's firewalls.

"You're talking about a few people in the world who have the tools and expertise" to hack into a system that uses Microsoft's new technology, said David Weston, director, and partner for enterprise security and operating systems at Microsoft.

Even when chips are currently used to protect passwords and other basic information, they are often separate from the PC CPU. By making these chips in the CPU itself, hackers will not be able to detect the link between the security chip and the CPU, which hackers may sometimes exploit to hack.

Microsoft is trying to re-employ the technology used in its Xbox gaming platforms, which now protect selections from hacking devices to use unpaid games, to make attacks on Windows PCs more difficult.

Microsoft's chip engineers are technically developed, a team of engineers who have grown with the company's involvement in designing custom processors and developing products such as Xbox and holoLens.

Microsoft's head of product division, Panos Panay, said the company plans to continue its chip expansion but is unlikely to focus on general-purpose chips, such as those produced by Intel, AMD and Qualcomm.