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Microsoft Making a Pluton Security Processor Which Will Bring Xbox-Like Security to Windows PCs

Microsoft Pluton. (Image Credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Pluton. (Image Credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is working with chipmakers like Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm to combine the Pluton with future CPUs.

  • Last Updated: November 18, 2020, 9:07 IST

Microsoft is said to be working on a new security chip called the Microsoft Pluton. The Microsoft Pluton is being designed to protect future Windows PCs. The chip will be built directly into the CPUs and will replace the existing Trusted Platform Module (TPM), a chip that’s currently used to secure hardware and cryptographic keys. Pluton will be based on the same security technologies used to protect Xbox consoles and Microsoft is working with chipmakers like Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm to combine it with future CPUs.

The Microsoft Pluton security chip is designed to block new and emerging attack vectors that are being used to compromise PCs and individual CPU security flaws. Intel had also, back in 2018, revealed that it is redesigning its processors to protect against future attacks. “We shipped the Xbox which has this physical attack protection, so people can’t just hack it for games etc. We learned principles of effective engineering strategies from that, and so we’re taking those learnings and partnering with Intel to build something for the PC that will stand up to that emerging attack vector,” David Weston, director of enterprise and OS security at Microsoft said.

Existing TPMs are separate units from CPUs, and attackers have developed methods to steal data and information that flows between a TPM and CPU when they have physical access to a device. Just like one can’t easily hack into an Xbox One to run pirated games, the hope is that it will be a lot more difficult to physically hack into a Windows PC in the future by integrating the Microsoft Pluton into the CPU.

Microsoft working with Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, etc also means that the Pluton security chip will be updated from the cloud. Updates will be issued monthly on the same Patch Tuesday that Windows updates and fixes arrive on. It is not clear when PCs with Microsoft’s Pluton will start shipping.

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