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Microsoft’s Next-Generation Secure Computing Base, formerly Palladium Kit Colbert Student Consultant Representing Microsoft [email protected] What is Palladium? A set of hardware and software extensions to make the PC more trustworthy. Today’s apps will still run just fine.

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Microsoft s next generation secure computing base formerly palladium l.jpg

Microsoft’sNext-Generation Secure Computing Base,formerly Palladium

Kit ColbertStudent Consultant Representing [email protected]

What is palladium l.jpg
What is Palladium?

  • A set of hardware and software extensions to make the PC more trustworthy.

  • Today’s apps will still run just fine.

  • You can disable Palladium extensions if you choose.

  • What exactly is trustworthy computing?

  • Good question…

Trustworthy computing l.jpg
Trustworthy Computing

  • Trustworthy: worthy of confidence.

  • Examples:

    • Credit card numbers that can’t be stolen.

    • Personal diary that can only be written and viewed by you or people you choose.

    • Someone is who she says she is.

  • There are currently ad-hoc solutions for some of these concerns, Palladium seeks to solve them all.

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Who To Trust?

  • Applications?

  • Operating systems can programmatically subvert applications.

  • Operating System?

  • Hardware can programmatically subvert operating systems.

  • Hardware?

  • Humans can subvert hardware, but not programmatically.

  • So we have to start off trusting the hardware.

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Chain of Trust

  • We start off trusting the hardware and build up, thus creating a chain of trust.


Operating System


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Palladium’s Goals

  • Usher in a new era of trustworthy computing by enabling the PC to:

    • Perform trusted operations

    • Span multiple computers with this trust

    • Create dynamic trust policies

    • Allow anyone to authenticate these policies

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How Palladium Will Do It

  • Specifically, Palladium will add four new security features that increase the trustworthiness of the machine:

    • Protected memory

    • Attestation

    • Sealed storage

    • Secure input and output

  • It primarily does this through cryptographic keys and algorithms.

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Hardware Extensions

  • Security Support Component (SSC)

  • Secure communication channels for:

    • I/O

    • Graphics

    • Network

    • Storage

    • Chipsets

  • CPU op-codes, registers, interrupts, and status bits

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Software Extensions

  • Nexus

    • (the kernel)

    • shared source

  • Trusted agents

    • (the applications)

  • So what is this, a whole other operating system??

  • Well, sort of…

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The New View

  • Two parallel operating systems?

  • Not quite, the trusted kernel still relies on the untrusted kernel for most of its functionality.

User Mode


User Mode

Kernel Mode


Kernel Mode

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SSC/Nexus Interaction

  • Sealed storage:

    • SSC’s symmetric key, call it ‘s’

    • SSC hash of running Nexus kernel, call it ‘h’

    • Arbitrary data pointed to by pointer ‘p’

    • SSC implements two operations:

      • c = SEAL(p)

      • p = UNSEAL(c)

    • Example implementation:

      • SEAL: aes_encrypt(s+h, p)

      • UNSEAL: aes_decrypt(s+h, p)

  • If either SSC or Nexus changes, can’t retrieve data!

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Bringing It All Together

  • Closed sphere of trust:

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  • Trusted Computing Platform Alliance

    • Group of companies (about 200)

    • Biggest players:

      • Microsoft

      • Intel

      • Compaq

      • HP

      • IBM

  • Same goal as Palladium: trustworthiness

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All About the Hardware

  • TCPA specification only for hardware

    • It’s operating system agnostic

  • Complete TCPA 1.1b spec online

  • One implementation of it in production machines (one version of IBM Thinkpad)

  • Palladium uses some of the TCPA spec

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How Palladium Will Affect You

  • A Palladium PC will still run non-trusted apps

    • So everything you have now will still work

  • Palladium is opt-in

    • You have to explicitly choose to use it

  • Signed binaries means less chances of a trojan or virus inserted into commonly used programs

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Your Information is Secure

  • All your personal information is stored on your home machine, not on some company’s server.

  • You control precisely who sees what and what they can do with it.

  • No more doctor’s new patient forms, no more filling out credit card apps, etc.

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Digital Rights Management

  • Probably the biggest issue with Palladium

  • Palladium will enable the media companies to protect their content

  • Which raises some questions:

    • So no more fair use?

    • Can I still pirate?

  • Fair use: probably not for the short term

  • Piracy: you can still do it on the non-trusted side

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Open Source and Palladium

  • Will operating systems like Linux still run on a Palladium PC?

    • Definitely.

  • Not only will Linux still run, but it could in theory be modified to have a Nexus

    • Thus it could run trusted apps

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No User Authentication

  • User authentication is done through Windows

    • Ie, usual Windows logon

  • User is tied to the machine and its keys

    • Everything encrypted with combination of machine’s SSC and Nexus keys

    • Switching machines could be tedious

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3-Phase Deployment Plan

  • Deploy in corporations

    • Use in internal networks

    • Make sure sensitive data isn’t leaked

  • Get major media companies involved

    • Create trusted content and applications

  • End users/consumers

    • Use the trusted apps and content

    • Distribute personal information

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  • Palladium is a platform

    • Enables ISVs to write trusted apps easily.

  • First version in future version of Windows

    • Sometime around 2005 or 2006

  • Will it work?

    • Who knows. Microsoft hopes so.

  • Do you want it to work?

    • There are good and bad outcomes of it.

    • It’s a personal decision.

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Palladium Links

  • Microsoft Palladium: A Business Overview

  • Microsoft NGSCB Technical FAQ

  • Palladium Details

  • Microsoft Meeting on Palladium

  • EPIC’s Palladium Coverage

  • Inside Microsoft’s Secure OS Project Palladium,3973,837726,00.asp

  • MIT Palladium Presentation

More palladium links l.jpg
More Palladium Links

  • Interview with Palladium’s Mario Juarez

  • Q&A: Palladium Initiative

  • TCPA / Palladium FAQ

  • TCPA and Palladium: Sony Inside

  • TCPA and Palladium Technical Analysis

  • Palladium and the TCPA

  • TCPA Homepage