AMD Strengthens Security Solutions through
Technology Partnership with ARM

– Industry-first Collaboration to Extend ARM TrustZone Security Technology into x86-based AMD Offerings, Enabling More Secure Computing Experiences and Significantly Expanding the Security Ecosystem –

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — June 13, 2012 — AMD(NYSE: AMD) today announced it will integrate a new security solution into its future products to meet the increasing need to provide consumers and businesses with secure access to their content and worry-free online transactions. Through a strategic technology partnership with ARM, AMD will integrate the established ARM® TrustZone® technologyinto future Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) via a system-on-a-chip (SoC) design methodology. This industry-first collaboration will help accelerate broader ecosystem support by aligning x86 hardware with the world’s most broadly-adopted mobile security ecosystem.

By adopting the industry-standard approach to security that TrustZone technology embodies, AMD and ARM will provide a consistent approach to security spanning billions of Internet-connected mobile devices, tablets, PCs and servers − whether they are powered by ARM processor-based solutions or AMD x86 APUs. AMD plans to provide development platforms that have TrustZone security features on select APUs in 2013, expanding further across its product portfolio in 2014. In a presentation this week at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2012 (AFDS), AMD Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Mike Wolfe described AMD’s vision to advance computing security by enhancing AMD’s existing security technologies. This is expected to include developing a platform security processor using an ARM Cortex™-A5 CPU that features TrustZone technology, to monitor and help protect against malicious access to sensitive data and operations at the hardware level

“With AMD’s support for, and inclusion in, the expanding TrustZone ecosystem, consumers and businesses can rest assured their data and content are secured by an industry-standard security solution that spans a multitude of devices and operating systems,” said Wolfe. “This example of AMD’s ambidextrous strategy, which leverages our history of x86 and graphics innovation while also embracing other technologies and intellectual property, will help drive a more secure computing experience for our consumer and businesses customers.”

“As technology becomes more important to our everyday lives, security needs to be present in every single device. The challenge that the industry faces is how to make this a reality,” said Ian Drew, executive vice president, strategy, ARM. “Through this technology partnership with AMD, and the broadening of the ARM TrustZone technology ecosystem, we’re making another important step towards a solution. The aim is to make security accessible and consistent for consumers and business users across all computing devices.”

Industry Support Demonstrates Market Need

In recognition of the first time hardware will be aligned to an industry-standard security solution between multiple processor architectures, the technology partnership has garnered wide support from industry leaders and influencers.

“At Alipay, we strive to provide safe and reliable online payment services to hundreds of millions of registered users for the tens of millions of transactions they make every day,” said Stephen Zhu, senior director, Alipay. “By incorporating security at the hardware level, AMD and ARM are providing an added level of protection and taking us one step closer to achieving this goal.”

“Hardly a week goes by without the emergence of another scary story regarding stolen identities or some other computer-related security breach – such as last week’s hack of social career networking website LinkedIn that resulted in millions of stolen passwords,” observed Nathan Brookwood, Research Fellow at Insight 64. “The bad guys have figured out that it’s easier to steal money from a bank’s computers than from the bank itself. AMD’s move to integrate ARM’s TrustZone technology into future APUs will allow systems containing those APUs to attain the same level of hardware-enforced security as today’s most advanced devices, and will allow the users of those systems to sleep more soundly at night.

ARM TrustZone Brings Security to Millions of Devices

ARM TrustZone technology - a system-wide approach to security - is a key component of the ARM architecture and is integrated into the ARM Cortex-A processor series. Launched in 2004, TrustZone is a result of ongoing co-development that ARM carries out with a wide range of companies and has been implemented in a wide array of devices to date. The aim of the TrustZone ecosystem is to drive industry alignment and scalability. This will enable billions of TrustZone technology-based devices to meet the system security needs of consumers, service providers, enterprises and device manufacturers.

Supporting Resources

AMD 2013 APUs To Include ARM Cortex-A5 Processor For TrustZone Capabilities
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  • Ben90 - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    Pardon my noobness, but I just don't understand the concepts of why this is necessary. Reply
  • Yuriman - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    Taken from arm.com:

    "TrustZone technology, tightly integrated tightly into Cortex™-A processors, extends throughout the system via the AMBA® AXI™ bus and specific TrustZone System IP blocks. This system approach means that it is possible to secure peripherals such as secure memory, crypto blocks, keyboard and screen to ensure they can be protected from software attack."

    In part, AMD is embarrassed that their employees can only bring Intel processors onto their secure work network due to lack of hardware security on AMD's own chips. Hardware level security is the future.
    Reply
  • ExarKun333 - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    LOL, yeah they should be a little embarrassed that their own workers cannot bring AMD CPUs into work. :) Reply
  • JKflipflop98 - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    That's funny because Intel still uses Pentium 4's and 1st gen Core 2's internally. Reply
  • Beleaguered - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    Which site and business group runs Pentium 4 laptops? I don't think I've run across anyone at Intel that runs a P4. I have one of the older series for design engineers, and it's a T9400 which is Core2 and still supports TXT. Of course, I'm at the very end of my model's life and moving to SNB within the next month or two. Reply
  • actionjksn - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - link

    How much do you want for the T9400 Processor and is it compatible with a laptop that has a T7300? Reply
  • microlithx - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    DRM, mainly. TrustZone is what Apple and all the Android vendors use to lock down their bootloaders.

    Netflix requires such locks to appease the MPAA.
    Reply
  • taltamir - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    Trusted computing is the holy grail of DRM.
    The name comes from a CIA in joke, you can only trust a system you compromised and whose user has less control then you do.

    It includes hardware chips that verify the hash of software before it is allowed to run. Making it impossible to get a virus. It also makes it impossible to run open source software and it allows remote censorship.

    They can decide for example that a certain document needs to go, they send a kill signal and any trusted computing computer out there deletes all copies of said document without the user consent.
    Reply
  • taltamir - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    It should be noted that to leverage it in such a manner it needs to be standard everywhere. The hardware makers already put it everywhere.

    But the problem is laws, which is why there are ongoing attempts to make it legally required (just like for a time HDCP was mandated by law). So far they have failed to do so in the USA. And have yet to mandate big brother.
    Reply
  • Jaybus - Thursday, June 14, 2012 - link

    It is really quite annoying and downright frightening. An implementation for consumer protection is one thing. For example, modern cars have an electronic ignition key that prevents thieves from making a plain mechanical key and driving off with it. But the key and car, once paired, make a standalone system. Ford can't remotely revoke the key if they decide that you are not driving the car in compliance with an "end user license". Sound crazy? Well, the car and key combination is a form of TPM. It is certainly possible from a technology standpoint for the car to phone home and validate the key.

    This whole DRM / TPM thing is subverting the very concept of ownership. What does it mean these days to own something? Do you really own something if someone else can control whether or not you may use it? If this is the future, then the future is not unlike the "company store" concept from the 19th century.
    Reply

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