Atmel Trusted Platform Module ICs Doom Viruses and Internet Fraud

2/3/2004 - Atmel® Corporation executives said that the company's Trusted Platform Module (TPM) ICs could help prevent identity theft, such as those perpetrated on Best BuyTM and PayPal® customers last summer, as well as viruses and worms, such as MyDoom, Sobig.F and Blaster. In just one week, Blaster infected 500,000 computers and caused and estimated $1.3 billion in financial losses. Last week's MyDoom virus is reported to be the fastest spreading ever, infecting one in 12 PCs. Atmel's TPM chips provide secure hardware-based, storage and management of the user's identity, passwords, and encryption keys, unlike most software-only security solutions.

According to Kerry Maletsky, Business Unit Director, North American ASIC/ASSP products at Atmel, "The real issue with viruses, worms and other Internet crime is identity. Can the identity of the data sender be reliably authenticated? Can the user or operating system determine that a program is safe to run, prior to its execution? With trusted computing platforms, the answer to both questions is yes because the authentication and integrity of both the programs and machines can be absolutely verified. The only way to cheat the system would be to copy the contents of the TPM or physically remove the chip and put it in another system - activities that cause the chip to disable the system.

"The concept of authenticated identity can be extended to the BIOS, operating system and the catalog of registered programs to protect from worms and viruses such as MyDoom, Sobig.F or Blaster. In this context, registration is the process by which software is measured and said measurements are stored in a catalog of known measurements. Worms and viruses are computer programs," Maletsky explained. "If a computer's BIOS and OS only allow execution of programs whose measurements match the values found in the measurement catalog protected by and authenticated by the TPM neither worms nor viruses could ever execute. Since the catalog of program measurement data is protected by the TPM IC, hackers could not alter it and go undetected. This capability could be particularly useful in preventing worms that invade servers through security holes and are difficult to detect until they have done a lot of damage. Unlike anti-virus software that can only be available after the virus has done some damage, TPMs offer the potential to prevent the outbreak before it happens.

"TPMs can help prevent phishing and spoofing scams as well," Maletsky continued. "Last summer's Best Buy and PayPal Internet scams used "spoofed" emails to elicit sensitive financial information from victims. Since TPM ICs can be used to ensure that emails are accepted only from "authenticated" sources, including identification of the actual hardware generating the email, they could have prevented these crimes. If Best Buy, PayPal and the victims had used Atmel TPM enabled computers and servers, the thieves could have been foiled because the "spoofs" that did not come from authenticated Best Buy or PayPal machines would have been recognized by the TPM hardware."

Atmel's AT97SC3201 ICs provide a complete, turnkey, Trusted Computing Group (TCG) 1.1b-compliant, hardware security solution that integrates a high-performance low-power, RISC processor, 500 ms 2048-bit RSA crypto accelerator, true random number generator, secure EEPROM storage for 20 public/private keys, SRAM, timer, real-time clock, LPC interface to Intel processors, and tamper prevention circuitry that disables the chip if someone tries to read its contents. Atmel's TPMs have unique, inaccessible ID codes that are used to authenticate the origination of data sent from the system. Atmel's TPMs include drivers for Windows 98, 2 K, XP, and NT 4.0 operating systems; as well as MAD and MPD BIOS drivers.

In addition to PCs, the Atmel TPM is also finding its way into embedded applications such as PDAs, cell phones, POS terminals and set top boxes to secure content as well as sensitive eCommerce applications.

Atmel's AT97SC3201 TPM ICs are part of a family of products known as SiliconCITYä. Atmel's SiliconCITY products are based on re-useable and validated intellectual property and architectures from Atmel's broad line of standard products, ASSPs and system-on-chip portfolio.

Atmel's AT97SC3201 TPMs that comply with TCG Standard 1.1b are available now, and are priced to OEMs at $4.00 in volume.

About TCG
The Trusted Computing Group (TCG) is an open, industry standards organization formed to develop, define, and promote open standards for hardware-enabled trusted computing and security technologies, including hardware building blocks and software interfaces, across multiple platforms, peripherals, and devices. TCG specifications enable more secure computing environments without compromising functional integrity, privacy, or individual rights. The primary goal is to help users protect their information assets (data, passwords, keys, etc.) from compromise due to external software attack and physical theft. For more information, go to

About SiliconCITY
SiliconCITY is the creative foundation for Atmel's ASIC/ASSP product strategy. It is built on re-useable and validated IP and architectures from Atmel's broad line of standard products and ASSPs within its System-on-Chip portfolio. Atmel has SiliconCITY platforms available now to give customers a significant time-to-market advantage. In addition, the common design infrastructure allows customers to seamlessly migrate from standard products to custom ASICs with confidence in first pass success. SiliconCITY from Atmel…Your System Foundation.

About Atmel
Founded in 1984, Atmel Corporation is headquartered in San Jose, California with manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe. Atmel designs, manufactures and markets worldwide, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and RF semiconductors. Atmel is also a leading provider of system-level integration semiconductor solutions using CMOS, BiCMOS, SiGe, and high-voltage BCDMOS process technologies.

Atmel® is a registered trademark of Atmel Corporation. Best Buy is a trademark of Best Buy Co., Inc. PayPal is a registered trademark of PayPal, an eBay Company.

Atmel's AT97SC3201 product information may be retrieved at

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