Windows 11 enables security by design from the chip to the cloud

  • Staff
Over the last year, PCs have kept us connected to family, friends, and enabled businesses to continue to run. This new hybrid work paradigm has got us thinking about how we will continue to deliver the best possible quality, experience, and security for the more than 1 billion people who use Windows. While we have adapted to working from home, it’s been rare to get through a day without reading an account of a new cybersecurity threat. Phishing, ransomware, supply chain, and IoT vulnerabilities—attackers are constantly developing new approaches to wreak digital havoc.

But as attacks have increased in scope and sophistication, so have we. Microsoft has a clear vision for how to help protect our customers now and in the future and we know our approach works.

Today, we are announcing Windows 11 to raise security baselines with new hardware security requirements built-in that will give our customers the confidence that they are even more protected from the chip to the cloud on certified devices. Windows 11 is redesigned for hybrid work and security with built-in hardware-based isolation, proven encryption, and our strongest protection against malware.

Security by design: Built-in and turned on

Security by design has long been a priority at Microsoft. What other companies invest more than $1 billion a year on security and employ more than 3,500 dedicated security professionals?

We’ve made significant strides in that journey to create chip-to-cloud Zero Trust out of the box. In 2019, we announced secured-core PCs that apply security best-practices to the firmware layer, or device core, that underpins Windows. These devices combine hardware, software, and OS protections to help provide end-to-end safeguards against sophisticated and emerging threats like those against hardware and firmware that are on the rise according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology as well as the Department of Homeland Security. Our Security Signals report found that 83 percent of businesses experienced a firmware attack, and only 29 percent are allocating resources to protect this critical layer.

With Windows 11, we’re making it easier for customers to get protection from these advanced attacks out of the box. All certified Windows 11 systems will come with a TPM 2.0 chip to help ensure customers benefit from security backed by a hardware root-of-trust.

The Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is a chip that is either integrated into your PC’s motherboard or added separately into the CPU. Its purpose is to help protect encryption keys, user credentials, and other sensitive data behind a hardware barrier so that malware and attackers can’t access or tamper with that data.

PCs of the future need this modern hardware root-of-trust to help protect from both common and sophisticated attacks like ransomware and more sophisticated attacks from nation-states. Requiring the TPM 2.0 elevates the standard for hardware security by requiring that built-in root-of-trust.

TPM 2.0 is a critical building block for providing security with Windows Hello and BitLocker to help customers better protect their identities and data. In addition, for many enterprise customers, TPMs help facilitate Zero Trust security by providing a secure element for attesting to the health of devices.

Windows 11 also has out of the box support for Azure-based Microsoft Azure Attestation (MAA) bringing hardware-based Zero Trust to the forefront of security, allowing customers to enforce Zero Trust policies when accessing sensitive resources in the cloud with supported mobile device managements (MDMs) like Intune or on-premises.
  • Raising the security baseline to meet the evolving threat landscape. This next generation of Windows will raise the security baseline by requiring more modern CPUs, with protections like virtualization-based security (VBS), hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI), and Secure Boot built-in and enabled by default to protect from both common malware, ransomware, and more sophisticated attacks. Windows 11 will also come with new security innovations like hardware-enforced stack protection for supported Intel and AMD hardware, helping to proactively protect our customers from zero-day exploits. Innovation like the Microsoft Pluton security processor, when used by the great partners in the Windows ecosystem, help raise the strength of the fundamentals at the heart of robust Zero Trust security.
  • Ditch passwords with Windows Hello to help keep your information protected. For enterprises, Windows Hello for Business supports simplified passwordless deployment models for achieving a deploy-to-run state within a few minutes. This includes granular control of authentication methods by IT admins while securing communication between cloud tools to better protect corporate data and identity. And for consumers, new Windows 11 devices will be passwordless by default from day one.
  • Security and productivity in one. All these components work together in the background to help keep users safe without sacrificing quality, performance, or experience. The new set of hardware security requirements that comes with this new release of Windows is designed to build a foundation that is even stronger and more resistant to attacks on certified devices. We know this approach works—secured-core PCs are twice as resistant to malware infection.
  • Comprehensive security and compliance. Out of the box support for Microsoft Azure Attestation enables Windows 11 to provide evidence of trust via attestation, which forms the basis of compliance policies organizations can depend upon to develop an understanding of their true security posture. These Azure Attestation-backed compliance policies validate both the identity, as well as the platform, and form the backbone for the Zero Trust and Conditional Access workflows for safeguarding corporate resources.
This next level of hardware security is compatible with upcoming Pluton-equipped systems and also any device using the TPM 2.0 security chip, including hundreds of devices available from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Panasonic, and many others.

Windows 11 is a smarter way for everyone to collaborate, share, and present—with the confidence of hardware-backed protections.

Learn more

For more information, check out the other features that come with Windows 11:
To learn more about Microsoft Security solutions, visit our website. Bookmark the Security blog to keep up with our expert coverage on security matters. Also, follow us at @MSFTSecurity for the latest news and updates on cybersecurity.


Source: Windows 11 enables security by design from the chip to the cloud | Microsoft Security Blog
 

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johnlgalt

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Thank you! It's about time they put this out.....
 

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johnlgalt

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Lightbulb moment!

WFH (Work From Home) - that's driving the emphasis on security. Because people using personal machines at home for business related stuff has created a lot more havoc in the Enterprise than would normally have occurred.

And it explains the accelerated timeline for W11 versus trying to incorporate this into the next Win10 release.
 

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cereberus

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It is the thin end of the wedge when MS start insisting on hardware specs that are not actually essential.

All this bs about hardware security is nonsense when the biggest security risk is PEBCAK.

Making a big thing about something that probably has minimal impact on overal security just lulls people into a false sense of security.

I bet the majors did not protest much to MS as they hope to boost sagging sales.
 

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johnlgalt

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It's precisely because of PEBKAC that they are doing this, IMO.
 

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    Dell Latitude E5470
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    Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-6300U CPU @ 2.40GHz, 2501 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
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cereberus

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johnlgalt

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How does it get used by the Windows 11 kernel, is probably a better question to ask.

Here's a much more detailed look at what they want - with a little bit of why they want it.


In addition, there is this post from Z3r010 Windows 11 enables security by design from the chip to the cloud also available from this blog Windows 11 enables security by design from the chip to the cloud | Microsoft Security Blog
 

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    SanDisk Ultra SDSSDHII-960G-G25 960 GB SATA III SSD
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unifex

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I have mixed feelings about this. I believe that the best cloud security is simply no cloud. Don't get me wrong, I do use Dropbox from time to time, especially when I need to share some files with colleagues at work, but I absolutely refuse to engage in any kind of cloud integration that is turned on 24/7. Similarly, I do use Teams when required, but they are off when I'm not using them.

Next step in security - I turn my computer off when it's not in use. Barring someone actually breaks into my house and removes the hard drive - which no software can prevent - this is fully secure.

Given that the machine is at home, there is no point in using a password other than to prevent kids from messing things up. What would really be useful, is some sort of a lock on settings, desktop setup, icons, shortcuts, etc. - all those things that kids can damage beyond repair by pressing a few buttons while running a car across the desk. Consequently, I'm not going to use Hello or any biometrics - it's too complicated and serves no purpose.

The best way to protect your identity is not to feed the machine with sensitive data. Yes, some of that is unavoidable, after all you need to store all of those receipts, statements, and bills somewhere. However, these are typically pdf files. I don't know if any search program can search within pdfs, especially those that are not OCRed. If you are really worried, you can put them all on a separate drive which you can keep turned off unless you are actively using this data (by turned off I mean physically turned off with a button, something that no software can reverse). However, apart from that, I don't see why would I even enter my name into Windows, let alone credit card numbers and what not. Of course, sometimes you need to enter your name - say to identify yourself in Zoom or Teams. What would be very useful, security-wise, if that data would be limited to that one program, perhaps similarly to how Android deals with that.

I do realize that the way I use my PC may not be very common. But for me personally, none of these fancy solutions will be a gamechanger. The issues they are addressing are not very important to me. I'm using a rather recent motherboard and processor, so I'm not worried about compatibility. I'm also not worried about being the first one to try Windows 11. Once the timeline for Windows 11 will be announced, I will build another SSD into my machine and play with Windows 11 on it, but I won't make a jump to it on my "production machine" until later.
 

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CountMike

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Wonder if there will still be Home and Pro ? It makes more sense to divide between business and private use.
 

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z3r010

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unifex

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Wonder if there will still be Home and Pro ? It makes more sense to divide between business and private use.
Personally, I don't do that. I prefer to have tools that I might not use than no tools at all. I never used Home versions and I see no reason to do that in the future.
 

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johnlgalt

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I have mixed feelings about this. I believe that the best cloud security is simply no cloud. Don't get me wrong, I do use Dropbox from time to time, especially when I need to share some files with colleagues at work, but I absolutely refuse to engage in any kind of cloud integration that is turned on 24/7. Similarly, I do use Teams when required, but they are off when I'm not using them.

Next step in security - I turn my computer off when it's not in use. Barring someone actually breaks into my house and removes the hard drive - which no software can prevent - this is fully secure.

Given that the machine is at home, there is no point in using a password other than to prevent kids from messing things up. What would really be useful, is some sort of a lock on settings, desktop setup, icons, shortcuts, etc. - all those things that kids can damage beyond repair by pressing a few buttons while running a car across the desk. Consequently, I'm not going to use Hello or any biometrics - it's too complicated and serves no purpose.

The best way to protect your identity is not to feed the machine with sensitive data. Yes, some of that is unavoidable, after all you need to store all of those receipts, statements, and bills somewhere. However, these are typically pdf files. I don't know if any search program can search within pdfs, especially those that are not OCRed. If you are really worried, you can put them all on a separate drive which you can keep turned off unless you are actively using this data (by turned off I mean physically turned off with a button, something that no software can reverse). However, apart from that, I don't see why would I even enter my name into Windows, let alone credit card numbers and what not. Of course, sometimes you need to enter your name - say to identify yourself in Zoom or Teams. What would be very useful, security-wise, if that data would be limited to that one program, perhaps similarly to how Android deals with that.

I do realize that the way I use my PC may not be very common. But for me personally, none of these fancy solutions will be a gamechanger. The issues they are addressing are not very important to me. I'm using a rather recent motherboard and processor, so I'm not worried about compatibility. I'm also not worried about being the first one to try Windows 11. Once the timeline for Windows 11 will be announced, I will build another SSD into my machine and play with Windows 11 on it, but I won't make a jump to it on my "production machine" until later.

Make sure you have WoL turned off too. Or else it is disconnected from power.
 

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System One System Two

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    Windows 10 Pro X64
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    AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
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    MSI MEG X570 GODLIKE
    Memory
    4 * Corsair Vengeance 32 GB 3600 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    eVGA GeForce GTX 970 SSC ACX 2.0 (04G-P4-3979-KB)
    Sound Card
    Realtek® ALC1220 Codec
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 * Lenovo LT2323pwA Widescreeen
    Screen Resolution
    2* 1920*1080
    Hard Drives
    3x Sabrent Rocket PCIe Gen4 NVMe M.2 1 TB SSD (SB-ROCKET-NVMe4-1TB)
    SanDisk Ultra SDSSDHII-960G-G25 960 GB SATA III SSD
    Crucial MX100 CT256MX100SSD1 256GB SATA III SSD
    2 * Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST31000528AS 1TB 7200 RPM --> RAID1
    PSU
    PC Power & Cooling’s Silencer Series 1050 Watt, 80 Plus Platinum
    Case
    Fractal Design Define 7 XL Dark ATX Full Tower Case
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 x64 Pro build 21H1
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Dell Latitude E5470
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-6300U CPU @ 2.40GHz, 2501 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 4 Logical Processor(s)
    Motherboard
    Dell
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel(R) HD Graphics 520
    Sound Card
    Intel(R) HD Graphics 520 + RealTek Audio
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell laptop display 15"
    Screen Resolution
    1920 * 1080
    Hard Drives
    Toshiba 128GB M.2 22300 drive
    INTEL Cherryvill 520 Series SSDSC2CW180A 180 GB SATA III SSD
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    Dell
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    Dell
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unifex

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What's WoL? And yes, when I say the PC is turned off I do mean unplugged (why waste electricity, even if it's not much?).
 

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dencal

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Quote.
The Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is a chip that is either integrated into your PC’s motherboard or added separately into the CPU. Its purpose is to help protect encryption keys, user credentials, and other sensitive data behind a hardware barrier so that malware and attackers can’t access or tamper with that data.

I think the above statement is the usual Microsoft bullshit....they are in cahoots with hardware and computer manufacturers in order to sell more installations of Windows 11 .

My Surface Pro 4 cannot Update to W11 even with TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot so why the need for a later version CPU.?

Most of the Insider flights during the last few months has been done developing W11 on existing hardware by our members.
 

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CountMike

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I don't buy those "cahoots" theories, at least not for now. HW manufacturers are hard pressed to produce enough quality products, all kinds of chips are in state of short supply and that's manufacturers' favorite way to keep prices up without as much of investments.
 

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unifex

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Well, they do exist to make profit, which would seem to require growing sales. I doubt they are in business of providing free services to owners of old hardware (no idea about Surface Pro, but basically, once you bought a piece of hardware in a store, it's automatically old).
 

My Computer

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Paranoir

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I don't buy those "cahoots" theories, at least not for now. HW manufacturers are hard pressed to produce enough quality products, all kinds of chips are in state of short supply and that's manufacturers' favorite way to keep prices up without as much of investments.

What theory do you buy then? That somehow Windows 11 will need some certain CPU instruction that only exists in 8xxx series and up to function? No, this CPU limitation is artificial, it serves no real purpose other than a push to upgrade. Apple had been doing such things for years, we know the drill.
 

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jh30uk

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Since when was Windows free to the larger community before?

They did that with Win 10 as 10 is not the holy grail and they wanted to get people using it and off Win m7/8/8.1 (none I liked) and pirated copies and even skipped Win 9 to try get people to forget.

They could still charge you to upgrade even on same hardware if they choose but they make most of their money or did from Office but now Cloud etc.
 

My Computer

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    Self Built
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    32GB Corsair Dominator Platinum 2400Mhz @ 10-12-11-27-1T
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CountMike

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Well, they do exist to make profit, which would seem to require growing sales. I doubt they are in business of providing free services to owners of old hardware (no idea about Surface Pro, but basically, once you bought a piece of hardware in a store, it's automatically old).
That's the case with all high tech. Planned obsolescence in conjunction with time needed for new product development. Plus there was always some flood, fire, earthquake or pandemic to use as an excuse.
 

My Computer

System One

  • Operating System
    W10 and Insider Dev.+ Linux Mint
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home brewed
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 3700x
    Motherboard
    Asus Prime x470 Pro
    Memory
    2x8GB Kingston 3600MHz, Cl 16
    Graphics Card(s)
    Asus ROG Rx 570 OC, 4GB
    Sound Card
    MB, Realtek Ac1220p
    Monitor(s) Displays
    2 x 27"
    Screen Resolution
    1080p
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 970 evo Plus 500GB, Samsung 960 evo250GB, 3x SSD SATA 2.5" 250GB, WD 2TB HDD.
    Cooling
    Arctic Freezer II 240mm
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