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

  • Arnulf - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    You haven't tried nearly hard enough.
  • spunlex - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    It's "heterogeneous system architecture".

    But basically AMD wants to create an open standard around heterogeneous computing. The aim is to make using heterogeneous architectures easier to use for software developers by eliminating proprietary ABIs and APIs.
  • This Guy - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    "Heterogenous System Architecture, formerly known as the Fusion architecture, an open specification by AMD for heterogenous computing" - Wikipedia

    I had the same problem :)
  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    *Jedi voice* This isn't the AMD-ARM partnership I was looking for.... Reply
  • Lucky Stripes 99 - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    There is nothing wrong with mixing processor ISAs within a single chip. IBM did it with the Cell processor. I'd actually like to see hybrid chips for tablets and palmtops. Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    That would be interesting, and it's a bit like what Nvidia is rumored to be doing with Project Denver. Take a few relatively more powerful AMD cores and surround them with smaller ARM cores that they can dish out certain tasks to. Reply
  • Mishera - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    I'm not sure if I'm reading this correctly, but could this mean theoretically that future APUs with an Arm core may be able to run both Winx86 and Android? (or even Winx86 and WinRT - but that would be redundant....) Or could even Microsoft make an os that would allow for some type of core switching to take advantage of both Arm's low power and x86 performance? Or is the point that the way Amd is moving, switching cores explicitly wouldn't be necessary as everything on the chip would be seen I guess as 'modules' of performance that can be turned on and off? Reply
  • mabellon - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    No you aren't reading this correctly. All that was announced was the inclusion of an old Cortex A5 - an architecture almost half the speed of current Cortex A9s. AMD is using the ARM chip as a security offload for DRM.

    Speculation about an ARM/x86 future is sure to follow given this partnership. There is no way AMD could just swap x86/ARM "modules" transparently without deep software and OS support.
  • Malih - Thursday, June 14, 2012 - link

    current APUs has been capable of running both Winx86 and Android for some time ( Reply
  • rrohbeck - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    If the ARM core has enough tendrils into the video and IO subsystems, it should be able to run BMC functionality. KVM remote control, flash the BIOS, program the CMOS RAM, temperature monitoring, fan control... That would be a much more worthy endeavor than TPM for me. Reply

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