Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
technology is designed to provide hardware-based, security-related functions. A TPM chip is a secure crypto-processor that is designed to carry out cryptographic operations. The chip includes multiple physical security mechanisms to make it tamper resistant, and malicious software is unable to tamper with the security functions of the TPM. Some of the key advantages of using TPM technology are that you can:
- Generate, store, and limit the use of cryptographic keys.
- Use TPM technology for platform device authentication by using the TPM’s unique RSA key, which is burned into itself.
- Help ensure platform integrity by taking and storing security measurements.
The most common TPM functions are used for system integrity measurements and for key creation and use. During the boot process of a system, the boot code that is loaded (including firmware and the operating system components) can be measured and recorded in the TPM. The integrity measurements can be used as evidence for how a system started and to make sure that a TPM-based key was used only when the correct software was used to boot the system.
TPM-based keys can be configured in a variety of ways. One option is to make a TPM-based key unavailable outside the TPM. This is good to mitigate phishing attacks because it prevents the key from being copied and used without the TPM. TPM-based keys can also be configured to require an authorization value to use them. If too many incorrect authorization guesses occur, the TPM will activate its dictionary attack logic and prevent further authorization value guesses.
Different versions of the TPM are defined in specifications by the Trusted Computing Group (TCG)
Windows can automatically provision and manage the TPM. Group Policy settings can be configured to control whether the TPM owner authorization value is backed up in Active Directory. Because the TPM state persists across operating system installations, TPM information is stored in a location in Active Directory that is separate from computer objects. Depending on an enterprise’s security goals, Group Policy can be configured to allow or prevent local administrators from resetting the TPM’s dictionary attack logic. Standard users can use the TPM, but Group Policy controls limit how many authorization failures standard users can attempt so that one user is unable to prevent other users or the administrator from using the TPM. TPM technology can also be used as a virtual smart card and for secure certificate storage. With BitLocker Network Unlock, domain-joined computers are not prompted for a BitLocker PIN.
For more details about TPM, see:
This tutorial will show you how to check if your Windows PC has a Trusted Platform Module (TPM)
security hardware chip, and what version if available.