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

  • Craig234 - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    Don't assume the reader knows what an APU is, the first time it's used define it.

    Not needed with CPU or probably GPU, but I think it is with APU.
  • twotwotwo - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    Apple's just implemented, and Intel's talked about, having your PC sync while asleep. That's one of the really handy features of my phone, too -- recent e-mail, etc. is always already there. An ARM environment that's just smart enough to stay connected and pull down new e-mail, etc., without eating much battery, would be awesome. It wouldn't necessarily have to talk super-closely with the main OS -- just save the new data it pulls down to a little bit of dedicated flash or memory it has, say. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    To switch between the x86 cores and ARM cores interchangeably in Windows 8, it would need a special version with both binaries of course. That could save a lot of power, or feature a quick boot mode, or both. Reply
  • tecknurd - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    The Cortex-A5 in AMD's next APU is not going to run ARM code. It is mainly going to sit in the chip and monitor data that requires security. The microcode of the APU will handle everything transparently. The processor by itself will still be an 80x86 processor, but all the security requests will be off-loaded to the ARM processor. This is not any different compared to other processors that uses another ARM processor to handle something besides applications. nVidia uses another ARM processor to control power management and data flow to other parts of their Tegra chips.

    Switching from Windows to Android and then Android to Windows already been done with an 80x86 and ARM processor.
  • yyrkoon - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 - link

    Not to mention this would be akin to a featured article here some time ago. Concerning the Curcial SSD that had dual A9's for controllers on it. You'd have a driver at most I would think.

    The Cortex A5 is also capable of big endian, or little endian byte ordering. So to some extent. The "ARM / x86 code issue" is rendered moot. No need for two abstraction layers.

    Think of it like this. A Cortex A5 MCU can/could be used as a keyboard controller. Among many other possible uses. Do you ever worry about about what any I/O device connected to your computer. Uses for a processor ? I don't . . .
  • Tujan - Friday, June 15, 2012 - link

    .. you mean. Not ARM for APU .

    Since some of this idea does not josh- that is ARM cpus are not that powerful,and thus the 'front-end'will mean (at least at this examined/explained emplementation) of notebooks,devices little for the actual compute end. DRM can still be vacated,and well as instilled,but dont force this as a necesary hardware implementation. As for most applications,the user has the choice use it or dont'. Howebeit the environment you have shown in this article (might be__) byo device etc.
    The article does a lot to generalize 'front-end,and back-end'. However does not make much sense if both the smallish ARM cpu described here will ''only'' be used with 'end-user' technologies. As I can tell,the small cpus simply barf at doing cryptollogy,and if an additive must of doing high resolution video ,and e.g. wireless vid conf etc, that would be about the limit of that platform. And being so,this 'weak-end',is fairly self serving.
    Since if a business was to buy into the technology described here,they would also have to outfit themselves with the back-end side of the ARM Trusted Platform technology. Being so said,meaning,if you buy this here 'front-end',you will also have to buy-it-here 'back-end'. Larger back-end say server side ARM technology ?
    I'm a little confused,as I have seen some large performance of cryptography static from other smallish technology manufacturers. Performance that did not necesitate comparing the specific technology here as ARM Trusted Platform technology. Why I say, APU for ARM,rather than ARM for APU.
    Gleefully pretensing that perhaps (and I dont know),AMD is simply assisting getting a silicon vendor an off the floor assist.

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