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EET Asia Article: Microsoft And Google Planning Silicon-Level Security

By August 22, 2018No Comments

Experts called for a new generation of secure-by-design computers at the Hot Chips conference here. In small steps in that direction, Microsoft and Google described their separate but similar hardware security architectures.
The Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities disclosed in January woke engineers up to how decades-old techniques such as speculative execution also could be doors to side-channel attacks. Red Hat alone spent tens of thousands of engineering hours patching those flaws in Linux, a fraction of the work also in progress at chip makers such as AMD, Arm, IBM and Intel estimated to cost the industry millions of dollars.
In separate talks, Microsoft described the Pluton security block for its Azure IoT service and Google detailed Titan, a similar block used to tag and secure systems in its data centers. Despite their very different targets, the two approaches had remarkably similar principles and features, leading one Google engineer to suggest they might someday converge into one standard.
Google is forming an industry group to launch, probably next year, work on an open source implementation of Titan, possibly based on a 32-bit version of a RISC-V core. The open variant is geared for broad use in any embedded or consumer product.
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