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Trusted Platform Module 101

What is the TPM?

The Trusted Computing Group (TCG) is an alliance of Microsoft, Intel, IBM, HP and AMD which promotes a standard for a ‘more secure’ (i.e. under their control) PC. Their definition of security is controversial; machines built according to their specification will be more trustworthy from the point of view of software vendors and the content industry, but will be less trustworthy from the point of view of their owners. In effect, the TCG specification will transfer the ultimate control of your PC from you to whoever wrote the software it happens to be running. (Yes, even more so than at present.) For another opinion, read IBM's TCPA Misinformation Rebuttal.

The TCG project is known by a number of names. `Trusted computing' was the original one, and is still used by IBM, while Microsoft calls it `trustworthy computing' and the Free Software Foundation calls it `treacherous computing'. Other names you may see include TCPA (TCG's name before it incorporated), Palladium (the old Microsoft name for the version due to ship in 2006) and NGSCB (the new Microsoft name). Intel has just started calling it `safer computing'. Many observers believe that this confusion is deliberate - the promoters want to deflect attention from what TC actually does. Discuss TPM in our Forum

While most users do not do their own programming, for many hackers who built the industry and old time programmers, this is the latest wave of "bite the hand that fed you" restrictions on programming one's own machine. For this group, the logical endpoint of being pushed off their own machines, which can only be centrally programmed, is problematic.

More Information



Chip Information

Below is an image of the Infineon TPM from the Developers Transition Kit.

And a modified image which gives a full view of the chip:

As you can see, this chip is clearly the Infineon SLD 9630 TT1.1 or simply SLD 9630 TT1.1, which, with a simple Google search on the chip, is a "Trusted Platform Module IC", or TPM/TCPA IC (integrated circuit, aka computer chip). Infineon has a short PDF detailing the basics of its SLD 9630 chip, although it has been removed from the Infineon website. On an interesting note, the SLD 9630 is actually outdated and is no longer being advertised by Infineon. Its replacement is the SLB 9635, which is dubbed "TPM 1.2", as opposed to the "TPM 1.1" found in the SLD 9630.

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