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View Full Version : ARM Builds Security Options into Chips

Jason Dunn
05-28-2003, 12:34 AM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,110863,tk,dn052703X,00.asp' target='_blank'>http://www.pcworld.com/news/article...n052703X,00.asp</a><br /><br /></div>"Chip designer ARM will add extensions to its processor core next year that incorporate hardware-based security technologies. Future versions of the company's ARM core for mobile and wireless handset chips will contain protected areas for storage of user authentication keys, plus areas of the processor that are off-limits to unauthorized users, said Mary Inglis, director of operating systems and alliances for ARM...<br /><br />...ARM is adding what it calls an S-bit (for security) to the sixth version of its architecture. The S-bit is applied to code that needs to be secure, and a separate portion of an ARM processor monitors and identifies data tagged with an S-bit. That data is run separately from nonsecure data through the processor. Security extensions are also added to the level-1 memory system. Most processors have a small amount of memory in a cache close to the CPU that is used to store frequently accessed instructions. These memory-level extensions can recognize the S-bit and control the flow of secure and nonsecure data from the memory cache to the CPU. The operating system on a TrustZone device will also boot from the secure portion of the processor, checking to make sure everything is safe within the operating system and the applications before booting the entire device."<br /><br />Security, security, security. I don't know about you, but I'd settle for speed, stability, and ease of use. Security isn't a huge concern with my devices at the moment - between basic password authentication and applications like <a href="http://www.handango.com/brainstore/PlatformProductDetail.jsp?siteId=311&jid=2C6BX9X498F8C5117588E39A1B114738&platformId=2&productType=2&catalog=0&amp;sectionId=0&productId=50259">FlexWallet</a>, I feel my data is secure on my Pocket PC. What about you? How important is hardware-level security to you?

05-28-2003, 12:39 AM
If ARM based devices result in always-on connected net devices, then security will be a growing concern. How secure is FlexWallet if you have a keyboard or SIP input sniffer program capturing every stroke?

05-28-2003, 12:53 AM
(And this ARM feature will finally be supported by Microsoft in the year 2009, after much consumer cry out and when the next administration, after the next one charge microsoft with violating US consent decree of promising to improved security on their product...)

Jason Dunn
05-28-2003, 01:15 AM
If ARM based devices result in always-on connected net devices, then security will be a growing concern. How secure is FlexWallet if you have a keyboard or SIP input sniffer program capturing every stroke?

You have a point there. 8O :| :D

05-28-2003, 01:39 AM
Well the first question that I got in mind when we are talking about security is:
How much worth our data? JonnoB really stress a point here, but stealling Information also have a cost, so how much the hacker will have to invest just for your little piece of data?

If we are talking about critical business Info, yes indeed, such security based system is good, but for the hand users like you and I... such drastic protection on a PDA is a bit too much... and this compnaies know that hacking, virus and so on are buzz word for high revenue...

Most 0f the time people which are dealing with critical info, already got everything to keep secure their business

Posted with my Ipaq in the subway, so don't look too deep in all my mistakes ;)

05-28-2003, 01:59 AM
It won't be about your data, but about the network security. Pretty soon PDA will be the weakest point in network.

05-28-2003, 04:33 AM
Sounds like listening to music on pocket pcs is about to get a little harder... If possible reader will also become less usable. I am sure when you can buy movies to play on pocket pcs they will now have issues. Security like this isn't security it is only a hassle to me. A hassle that i would buy another option over to avoid... So how are the Sharp Zaraus's doing? What core are they on? Or at least will they not support these "features." Please stop enhancing things for corporations take a look at the end users and consumers and what they want... I want fast good video that NEVER stalls... Peace

05-28-2003, 06:31 AM
...applications like FlexWallet (http://www.handango.com/brainstore/PlatformProductDetail.jsp?siteId=311&jid=2C6BX9X498F8C5117588E39A1B114738&platformId=2&productType=2&catalog=0&sectionId=0&productId=50259)

What's the latest version? Twopeaks (http://www.twopeaks.com/) sez 1.6 but Handango sez 1.7. But then, my iPaq sez I'm running GigaTask 2.11 and both the GigaTask site (http://www.gigatask.com/) and Handango (http://handango.com/PlatformProductDetail.jsp?siteId=1&jid=1911465X94X1E8C2D9EC614816D742B2&platformId=2&productType=2&catalog=0&amp;sectionId=0&productId=31146) say that 2.10 is the latest.

05-28-2003, 08:15 AM
I must say I never saw it coming, but this is clearly Palladium for the pocketpc (on WinCE ).

It also means that future MS PPC OS's will be using some of the very scare resources on the pocketpc (eg the very limited cache) for purposes which no consumer has asked for....

Makes one rethink one's investment..


Rob Alexander
05-28-2003, 11:04 AM
Yeah, I'm afraid danmanmayer and Surer have it right. This isn't about providing anything for the consumer. This is about finding ways to control the consumer (all of us being evil pirates, bent on stealing the rightful excessive monopoly profits from the hands of innocent corporate citizens like MS). I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find MS in the background on this one. I know, I know... this is a different company and all. But it's also a company that benefits greatly from MS having declared ARM the CPU standard for the PPC. Funny that this comes along at the same time as Palladium.

05-28-2003, 01:16 PM
I saw another article on this and it was slanted as this feature was an enabler for DRM. Now, don't get me wrong, there are good uses for DRM. However, like all powerful weapons, there are also BAD uses for DRM, and unfortunately, I think that the bad uses will previal

Only time will tell, but there is a HUGE amount of $$ for the SW and HW that the record makers choose to adopt.

05-28-2003, 06:34 PM
That's right. "Security options" are neither options nor security for the end user, but for the person distributing digital content. We've seen this before.

There might be secondary uses that could be developed that would ward off viruses, etc., but applications like that don't pay the development costs.