Microsoft presents Pluto, a chip for securing PCs

Microsoft is lifting the veil on Pluto, a new security chip for Windows desktop and laptop computers. The aim is to better secure machines and to replace the TPM chip (Trusted Platform Module). Pluto will be integrated directly into future processors from Intel, AMD and Qualcomm.

Microsoft explains that Pluto is based on the same security technologies used on Xboxes. This chip blocks new and emerging methods of attack, including vulnerabilities in processors like Specter and Meltdown. Intel announced in 2018 that it was redesigning its processors to protect them from future attacks, and Pluto is an even bigger step in securing it.

Microsoft’s Pluto chip is an improvement on the TPM chip

Whoever says additional security means new protection. Previously, the TPM chip was separate from the processor. Hackers have found ways to restore the flow of data between the processor and the TPM chip. With Pluto, Microsoft is blocking this method.

“We released the Xbox, which offers this kind of protection from physical attack so people can’t just hack it for gaming,” said David Weston, Microsoft’s security manager. Microsoft derived “the principles of effective engineering strategies” from this. “We are taking these lessons and working with Intel to develop something for the PC that will withstand this new vector of attack.”

Updates for Pluto

There will be monthly software updates for Pluto. They will arrive with Windows Patch Tuesday. This corrects errors and closes Windows errors every month.

We don’t yet know when Pluto will be used in processors from Intel, AMD and Qualcomm. We can expect availability in a few months at best.