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"Trusted Execution Technology"

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December 16, 2009 5:15:16 PM

I see that Intel has listed "Trusted Execution Technology" as a feature for its Core i7-860 and -870 processors...but not for the other Core i7 processors and not for the Core i5 processor either.

Judging from Intel's marketing department -- "...helps protect against malware attacks by enabling an environment where applications can run within their own space, protected from all other software on the system..." -- this sounds like it could be a useful feature. So why is Trusted Execution Technology not offered on the rest of Core i7 and Core i5?
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December 21, 2009 2:13:46 AM

Actually "Trusted Execution Technology" is available on practically all modern PC CPUs, on both AMD and Intel chips. Look if "Execute Disable Bit" is mentioned for the i7-860 and -870's specs. That's another term Intel's marketing uses, for something commonly called "nx bit" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NX_bit
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a b å Intel
December 21, 2009 3:14:19 AM

"Trusted Execution Technology" is much more than just a CPU feature, it has to be integrated into the chipset and BIOS as well. See the documents available at: http://www.intel.com/technology/security/
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December 22, 2009 2:55:31 PM

Looks like "Trusted Execution Technology" may not be so trustworthy:

"Joanna Rutkowska of Invisible Things Lab has disclosed a new vulnerability in certain Intel processors...[that] can interfere with TXT (Trusted eXecution Technology), allowing it to elevate privileges... The result is a recipe for rootkits running at the most basic, privileged level of the processor.

Intel has issued an advisory conceding the error and announcing a new SINIT ACM (Authenticated Code Module) to fix the problem. Systems with Q35, GM45, PM45 Express, Q45, and Q43 Express chipsets are affected.

This isn't the first such flaw in TXT found by Invisible Things Lab. A similar, but unrelated attack was disclosed by them and patched by Intel in February."

-excerpted from PC Magazine's Security Watch
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