Citrix has joined the growing ranks of companies
exploring the use of controversial Trusted Platform Module (TPM) technology
to enhance security options in its software.
TPM, a specification developed by the Trusted Computing Group and endorsed
by Intel and many motherboard manufacturers, utilises a separate security
microchip for the storage and transmission of keys, passwords and digital
certificates. Proponents of TPM argue that hardware-level security is less
vulnerable to attacks than software-based systems, which can often easily be
thwarted if attackers have physical access to a machine's hard drive.
Chris Mayers, principal security architect for Citrix, told ZDNet
Australia that the company is actively experimenting with the use of TPM
technology for future software packages.
He declined to discuss specific release dates or plans for individual
products, but said that the ability to securely store digital certificates
would help encourage more widespread certificate use.
Citrix is best-known for its Presentation Server virtualisation package and
various flavours of remote access software, all of which could potentially
utilise TPM to provide a higher level of authentication before connecting
users to enterprise networks.
TPM is also being promoted by Microsoft, which has incorporated support for
the platform into the business versions of its forthcoming Vista operating
OS-level support should also make it easier for independent software vendors
(ISVs) to develop Windows applications that utilise TPM.
The TPM concept has not been without controversy. Opponents argue that such
chips can be used to enforce high-level digital rights management (DRM),
making it impossible to access digital content except on a single specified
TPM also proved a major stumbling block to attempts by enthusiasts to run
Windows XP on Intel-based Macintoshes, although that problem has essentially
evaporated following Apple's release of its Boot Camp beta software to
perform the same task.