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Implementation of New Identification Number into Upcoming Intel CPUs

There is quite a bit wind about Pat Gelsinger's announcement at the RSA Data Security Conference and Expo '99 of Intel's new strategy of implementing an identification number into every CPU, which is supposed to be transferred over the Internet for security reasons. This identification number will come along with a very effective random number generator that's using "the thermal noise of a semiconductor resistor to generate high-quality random and nondeterministic numbers ". The idea behind this identification number, which will only be implemented into Pentium III and later Intel CPUs, is to ensure the "trusted connected computer ". The identification number, coded with the random number, is supposed to improve Internet security, which is of highest importance for any kind of e-commerce. With this new number, your CPU and thus your system can be clearly identified, which may be an easy way of fighting fraud over the Internet. The negative thing about this number is the fact that it endangers your privacy on the Internet, with the system identification you can possibly be tracked, whatever you do on the Internet. This is why the transfer of the CPU serial number can be turned off by you, and since security reasons kept Intel from implementing a command that can turn it back on again, you need to reboot your system to access e-commerce websites that require your identification number.

This is a listing of Intel's ideas behind the new feature:

Intel's Platform Security Plans

  • The near future of a billion connected PCs means PC security will become increasingly important.
  • Intel believe the industry needs to work together to develop the Trusted, Connected PC, enhancing today's PCs, servers, and workstations with security capabilities that will allow users to access/send/ buy/sell anything across the Net with privacy and without fear of theft, viruses, or other attack
  • Intel is planning on developing a hardware foundation for platform security by including a number of security features in its processors and chipsets in the coming years
  • Intel will begin adding security features to its platforms in 1999:
  • The focus of the 1999 platform will be on establishing identity for the platform and laying the foundation for additional security capabilities in 2000.Among the technologies planned for 1999 are a processor serial number on the Pentium III processor, a hardware random number generator (RNG), boot integrity services (BIS) for client/server networks.

Processor Serial Number

  • The Intel processor serial number serves as an identifier for the processor, and by association its system
  • Processor serial number will be used in applications that benefit from stronger forms of system and user identification:
  • Applications using security capabilitiesManageabilityInformation Management
  • Processor serial number is the first of Intel's planned building blocks for PC security
  • Available on Pentium III processor and future Intel processors