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


View All Comments

  • gamerk2 - Friday, June 15, 2012 - link

    Haven't you read the EULA for any software in the past two decades? You do NOT own any software; you own a license to USE the software. You don't own anything except a software license. Reply
  • taltamir - Saturday, June 16, 2012 - link

    They took it a step further.
    Blizzard won a case vs a married couple that wanted to share their WoW license with each other.

    BLIZZARD owns the license, you pay them to register you as the sole user of the license they own.

    Since you don't actually own ANYTHING you cannot share it with a spouse even though the law says all property is shared.
  • rolandl - Monday, June 23, 2014 - link

    Since I will run linux and disable secure boot in the UEFI/BIOS, this arm chip won't be able to affect linux, right? So it won't be able to, for instance, enforce DRM, right? What code is this arm chip running? Is it in ram, or separate eprom in its own memory space? Can I nuke it from orbit? Is this arm code pre-approved by NSA/MAFIAA ? Does this mean new systems are pre-pwned? Why should I trust any US corporation? Reply
  • designerfx - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    because we're talking about an AMD ARM chip.

    security portion? useless. AMD ARM? significant, at least to me. This sounds like a hybrid ARM/X86 processor....hello desktop competition? Intel? Microsoft?

    I see potentially big things happening with this.
  • JKflipflop98 - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    Read more.
    Post less.
  • designerfx - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    umm? just because it's being designed for security doesn't limit AMD's arm expansions solely to that area. This represents an early foray into ARM, which they previously claimed no plans to do (granted, not for the same purpose).

    It wouldn't exactly be a stretch to go "hey, they're going to use arm for security, maybe they'll use arm for other stuff too". Duh.
  • silverblue - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    ...but is there a potential software issue integrating a 32-bit CPU, or rather, controller I suppose, inside a 64-bit CPU? Reply
  • eanazag - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    It is not really an issue if all they're doing is running trusted execution software. I don't see it any different than integrating a Sandforce controller onto their APU. My understanding is that none of the ARM cores in devices you can buy today are 64bit anyhow. Additionally, you would require ARM based code on Windows and x86 code in one OS version to run applications from both architectures concurrently. The included A5 is a slug anyhow, so don't plan on seeing any of that in this iteration. It does really provide some interesting possibilities given virtualization software.

    Apple might find a product like this really interesting in their minute laptops; think subsequent APUs with a built-in Apple ARM core running applications from both their environments.
  • phatboye - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    What is this HSA that was mentioned in the article? I've tried google but nothing relevant has came up. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    You could try searching our site! :-)

    Or if you want the quick expansion of the acronym: Heterogeneous Systems Architecture.

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