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From: etomcat at (Feher Tamas)
Subject: Re: Vulnerability in IBM Windows XP: default hidden password

Big Blue PC are the most secure in the world!


IBM protects passwords with PC chip
by Ina Fried, CNET News, 15 Sept 2004

IBM plans to start shipping its PCs with a new chip designed
to thwart hackers by safeguarding passwords and other
sensitive identity information. 

Big Blue will be the first computer maker to use National
Semiconductor's SafeKeeper Trusted I/O Device, which stores
a computer's identity in silicon, making it harder for
outsiders to access. It's adding the technology as part of
an upgraded input-output chip, which is a secondary PC chip
that shuttles data from various parts of a PC. 

"Security, encryption and password management are key
components of IBM ThinkVantage Technologies, which simplify
the PC user experience and reduce management costs for
organizations of all sizes," Clain Anderson, program
director in IBM's PC division, said in a statement. 

National Semi said that storing such information in hardware
makes it inherently more secure than software-based
approaches. The chip encrypts information using a code key
only accessible to a specialized processor, protecting the
information from outside hackers and user error and
essentially locking it to the PC. 

Such technology, commonly referred to as trusted computing,
are part of an ongoing effort to better secure systems and
protect digital information. Companies throughout the
technology world have been working on a variety of methods
to improve the reliability of authentication, including
biometric approaches such as fingerprint readers and iris
scanners. Microsoft, for example, last week introduced a
keyboard that includes a fingerprint reader. 

Some digital rights activists believe that the technology
could stop the free flow of information among digital citizens. 

The desktop chips cost about $5 in volume and are available
now, National Semi said. A notebook processor, which costs
$7 in 1,000-unit volumes, is expected to be available next
quarter, the chipmaker said. 

The security chip, used in IBM desktop computers that are
shipping today, is now standard on almost every IBM PC
instead of a special feature, National Semi spokeswoman
Gayle Bullock said. The chipmaker also has a version for
laptop computers, but she declined to comment on when it
might be used. 

IBM worked with National Semi to develop the chip, which
replaces a dual-chip approach Big Blue previously used.
Another National Semi representative, Jeff Weir, said
Hewlett-Packard and Dell are expected to use the chip also. 

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