Hi the vPro team has asked me to blog here regarding the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) and general security issues. For some strange reason I said yes. I have never blogged before, though i do read some blogs regularly, so hopefully I get this right
To give a little bit of my bona fides, I have been the chair of the TPM workgroup for many years and have been the editor of the TPM spec since the begining of the TCG. For extra credit I am also the security architect of Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT). Those two jobs may be part of why it seems like I have no real life outside of Intel. But then I really do as this is my 27th year as a soccer coach, this year it is a U14 girls team, Go Shark Bait (ooh ha ha).
Anyway after that little digression some information on the TPM. A vPro platform requires the inclusion of a Version 1.2 TPM. The features of a TPM include storage of measurements, reporting the measurements, protection of information, and basic cryptographic services. I have classes that take hours to give and my first blog post will not cover all of the features and uses of the TPM.
What I will focus on today is that the TPM is an integral part of the platform. Adding a TPM to the platform requires laying out the real estate for the device, adding busses to the device, changing the BIOS to initialize and configure the device, and then OS and applications that take advantage of the TPM. Without all of these changes the TPM does not provide benefits to the platform or the users of the platform. One change that is very important to the platform is the ability to accept and store measurements. The platform is designed to perform a measurement for two critical processes. The first is the boot of the platform. The measurement of the boot process is known as the "static root of trust for measurement" or S-RTM. The other process is the TXT launch and measurement known as the "dynamic root of trust for measurement" or D-RTM. For those just learning about the TPM measurement in this context means take a cryptographic hash of the target (BIOS or VMM). The hash in use is SHA-1.
The result of either RTM is the knowledge, stored in the TPM as a measurement value, of the status of which BIOS just booted the platform or which VMM is executing. Knowledge of the status of the platform then enables both local processes and remote processes to make trust decisions regarding the platform.
Well most likely this is too long for a first post. Please be kind to a first time blogger and let me know what details you would like to dive into.