Intel's security spec for notebook PCs

Intel Protected Access Architecture will help make notebooks more secure
Written by Ken Popovich, Contributor on

This week, Intel plans to announce a new security architecture designed to make stolen notebooks "as useful as bricks". The new pre-boot security method, which is based on IPAA (Intel Protected Access Architecture), will integrate additional software and hardware components into laptops to provide an added level of protection, said officials.

Basically, after turning on the PC, the user will be required to "authenticate" him or herself by using a fingerprint reader or other biometric device; a Universal Serial Bus (USB) token or key; and a smartcard or other authentication device, said Naveen Musinipally, marketing manager for security with Intel's Mobile Products Group. In addition, a password or personal identification code may be required.

Once the user has been authenticated, the password-protected hard drive will automatically unlock, and the computer will boot. The new system is also being designed to allow remote access to network administrators.

"As mobile PCs are deployed more widely, there's a greater chance that the data residing on them will fall into somebody's hands that might misuse the information," Musinipally said. "What we're trying to do is raise the bar for both data and notebook security."

Intel is working with mobile PC manufacturers, BIOS vendors and makers of security hardware devices to develop the system, and expects the first mobile PCs featuring the new technology to be available early next year. The company will demonstrate IPAA at the Mobile Insights conference this week in Palm Desert, California, on an NEC notebook featuring a Veridicom fingerprint reader.

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