CES 2022: Chip to cloud security: Pluton-powered Windows 11 PCs are coming


  • Staff
As we enter this new year, security remains a top concern as businesses continue to evolve and define their digital transformation strategies and what hybrid work means for their organizations and their employees. Over the last year, we’ve seen a 150% increase in ransomware attacks. Every second there are 579 password attacks, and since March 2020 we have seen a 667% increase in phishing attacks. While cloud-delivered protections and significant advancements in the Windows OS have made things more difficult for attackers, they continue to evolve as well – targeting the seams that exist between hardware and software and sensitive information like encryption keys and credentials within a device’s firmware. Security decision makers have taken note. The Microsoft Security Signals 2021 survey found that 80% believe that modern hardware, and not just software, is needed to protect against emerging threats.

These modern, sophisticated threats, combined with today’s distributed workforce, require solutions that are designed to protect each layer of computing from the chip to the cloud. To deliver that for our customers, we’ve made several important strides with the release of secured-core PCs, Windows 11 and the Microsoft Pluton security processor. The Microsoft Pluton is a security processor, pioneered in Xbox and Azure Sphere, designed to store sensitive data, like encryption keys, securely within the Pluton hardware, which is integrated into the die of a device’s CPU and is therefore more difficult for attackers to access, even if they have physical possession of a device. This design helps ensure that emerging attack techniques cannot access key material.


Today, we are thrilled to see Lenovo and AMD introduce one of the first Microsoft Pluton powered PCs. The new Lenovo device powered by AMD Ryzen 6000 Series processors introduces a valuable new hardware security capability for Windows customers, including:
  • Security updates from the chip to the cloud
    • The Pluton security processor’s firmware will be updateable through Windows Update along with standard industry controls. This tightly integrated hardware and software helps protect against security vulnerabilities by adding additional visibility and control, and provides a platform for innovation that allows customers to benefit from new features in future releases of Windows that leverage the Pluton hardware and, with this design, are adaptable to changes in the threat landscape.
  • Physical attack resistance
    • The Microsoft Security Signals 2021 survey showed that 70% of security decision makers were more concerned with the risk of device theft given the move to hybrid work. Even if the attacker has complete physical possession of the PC, the AMD Security Processor and Pluton are designed to co-exist on AMD client silicon to ensure constant communication, which helps to eliminate an attack vector that physical attackers could exploit.
  • Trusted, proven security built alongside our partners built on approaches and technologies used in Xbox and Azure Sphere.

Improving security for all Windows users with innovation built on partnerships​

Pluton’s flexible, secure platform helps to improve security across a range of scenarios that benefit everyday consumers, small businesses and large commercial enterprises. Supporting the needs of our customers is always a top priority, which is why Pluton can be configured in three ways: as the Trusted Platform Module; as a security processor used for non-TPM scenarios like platform resiliency; or OEMs can choose to ship with Pluton turned off. That means for devices like the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 and Z16, when Pluton is configured as the TPM 2.0 for a Windows 11 system, Pluton helps protect Windows Hello credentials by keeping them further isolated from attackers. Device encryption can use Pluton when it is configured as the TPM to securely protect encryption keys from physical attacks and help keep data safe from prying eyes. The flexibility of Pluton and the innovation supported by Microsoft’s ecosystem partners allow the hardware security capabilities supported by Pluton to be used for scenarios beyond the TPM.

The first example of such a scenario was developed in close partnership with multiple OEMs. Windows will use Pluton to securely integrate with other hardware security components on the system to provide greater visibility into the state of the platform to the Windows end user and eventually to IT administrators, who will have new platform resiliency signals that can be used for zero-trust conditional access workflows.

Windows OEMs work closely with commercial customers to help ensure that their device security needs are met. Given that OEMs help build a device from the case to the motherboard and connected peripherals, they are uniquely positioned to provide customers insight into what the expected state is across these various components.

In the future these signals will also be reported to cloud services like Intune, through the Microsoft Azure Attestation service, so that they can be used by IT administrators to take a step further in the zero-trust security paradigm of verifying as much as possible before authorizing access to any privileged resources.

To learn more about Lenovo’s device, visit their website.

The start of the Pluton journey with the Windows ecosystem​

Our OEM partners are leveraging platforms from silicon partners to begin offering customers Windows systems with Pluton enabled. This is the start of a journey with the Windows ecosystem to bring the Pluton benefits of cloud-delivered, up-to-date protection, physical attack resilience and established security features to more Windows systems over time. Look for updates from Microsoft and our partners in the future around expanded hardware availability of Pluton.


Source: CES 2022: Chip to cloud security: Pluton-powered Windows 11 PCs are coming
 

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The-Hive

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I think you are right, but enough speculation I think I will just wait and see ( and maybe drop in the odd post to get people reacting )
 

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jvickers

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But how long until pluton processors hit desktop CPUs? Too much of a headache, I think.
 

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    Currently taken down because of a lack of space :-(
    Maybe I'll make room somewhere and connect to the Dev channel if possible.

CornishRattler

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The optional 'Pluton processor to run W11'

will become

the mandatory 'Pluton processor is a system requirement to run W12'
If that’s the case then take up of W12 will be painfully slow. It would have to be a flawless OS and very different from the current one to get me to part with more money.
Up to this point, flawless OS let alone different is not something associated with anything produced by MS
 

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jvickers

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If that’s the case then take up of W12 will be painfully slow.
I agree. There currently is one CPU, a laptop CPU, that has a pluton chip. I'm not getting a laptop just to get Windows 12, whenever that might come out. I've not seen any word on other plutonium processors out there yet. But I didn't check this morning. Anyone know about that one?
 

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    MSI MPG X570 GAMING EDGE WIFI
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    Crucial Ballistix Sport LT 3200 MHz DDR4 DRAM Desktop Gaming Memory 32MB
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    ZOTAC RTX 3060 Twin Edge OC/ ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Super 6GB GDDR6 192-bit Gaming Graphics Card
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    Proprietary
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    ViewSonic XG2530 25"/Benq XL2411P 24"/ Samsung SyncMaster BX2331 23"
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    SK hynix Gold P31 1TB PCIe NVMe Gen3 M.2 2280 Internal SSD
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    Currently taken down because of a lack of space :-(
    Maybe I'll make room somewhere and connect to the Dev channel if possible.

The-Hive

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I am still totally undecided at the moment just depends on how much hassle is involved and of course much may change before it happens.
BTW @CornishRattler how is Norton behaving?
 

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    Dell Inspiron 3501
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CornishRattler

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Winuser

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But how long until pluton processors hit desktop CPUs? Too much of a headache, I think.
Sometime between now and when MS is ready to release Windows 12.
 

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    16GB (8GB PC4-19200 DDR4 SDRAM x2)
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barman58

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The more realistic point question will be " how long before Microsoft allows systems not meeting the initial essential Specs"

When we look at their actions on Windows 11 "you must have a TPM2.0 to install Windows 11" soon became "If you do not have TPM 2.0 then Windows 11 may stop working at a later date"

When it gets down to it the bottom line is what counts
 

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The-Hive

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It's that old wait and see game but personally I am sure they will do something
 

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System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Alienware Area 51m R2
    CPU
    10th Gen Core i9 10900K
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Geforce RTX 2080 Super
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    C: Samsung 2TB P981A
    D: Samsung 2TB 970 Evo
    Mouse
    Alienware AW610M
    Browser
    Chrome and Firefox
    Antivirus
    Norton
    Other Info
    Killer E3000 Ethernet Controller
    Killer AX1650i Wi-Fi Network Adaptor
    Alienware Z01G Graphic Amplifier
    Tobii Eye Tracker
  • Operating System
    Dual Boot Windows 11 Pro / Windows 11 Pro Dev build
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Inspiron 3501
    CPU
    11th Gen i-7 2.80 gb
    Memory
    16Gb
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    512Gb SSD
    2GB External drive
    Browser
    Chrome
    Antivirus
    Norton
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