The global threat of cybersecurity continues to plague organizations of all sizes, with new data showing adversaries have been using zero-day exploits in 2021 at more than double the previous recorded volume in 2020. Password attacks are one of the most common entry points for attackers and Microsoft reported that in 2022 over 921 password attacks happen every second – nearly doubling over the prior 12 months. Microsoft processes 24 trillion signals every 24 hours and has blocked billions of attacks in the last year alone, while tracking ~250 unique threat actors across observed nation-state, ransomware and criminal activities.
To stay protected in the face of these mounting threats, customers need modern security solutions that deliver end-to-end protection from wherever they choose to work. Windows 11 is built with Zero Trust principles for the new era of hybrid work. Zero Trust is a security model based on the premise that every access request is fully authenticated, authorized, and encrypted before granting access. Windows 11 raises the security baselines with new requirements built into hardware, firmware and software to help ensure a strong security posture that reduces malware which can otherwise compromise older devices. With Windows 11, customers can enhance hybrid productivity and new experiences without compromising security.
Built on the principles of Zero Trust, the hardware and silicon-assisted security baseline in Windows 11 — including the TPM 2.0, UEFI Secure Boot and Memory Integrity — help protect core parts of the OS as well as the user’s credentials as soon as the device powers on. These features provide important protections from many attack patterns we see in practice today. However we know that adversaries have shifted their sights to more exotic techniques including hardware attacks. This is why Microsoft is committed to the Pluton Security Processor as an innovative solution to securing the next generation of Windows PCs against these emerging threats.
Microsoft Pluton fortifies chip to cloud security in new Acer TravelMate Devices
Today, we are thrilled to see Acer and AMD launch the Acer TravelMate P4 and TravelMate Spin P4 series of business laptops with the latest AMD Ryzen PRO 6000 Series mobile processors with PRO technologies and with the Pluton hardware security processor designed by Microsoft. In these devices, the Microsoft Pluton technology is integrated directly into the CPU, significantly raising the Acer TravelMate’s ability to withstand sophisticated physical attacks if the device is lost or stolen. These are the first devices incorporating Pluton that ship with the Pluton Security Processor enabled by default out of the factory, enhancing security from the chip to cloud and enabling secure Windows updates to Pluton as the threat landscape continues to evolve. This flexibility and updateability is critical to protecting the device as well as identities and data that reside on it.TravelMate Spin P4
The Microsoft Pluton Security Processor brings some incredibly important capabilities that address customers’ biggest concerns in this era of hybrid work, and a continuously evolving and increasingly sophisticated threat landscape:
Chip to cloud security
Making Pluton easy to securely update at scale is a key design decision of its architecture. Renewable security is one of Microsoft’s seven properties of a highly secured device and is critical to addressing real world threats – namely that devices continue to be exploited through vulnerable unpatched firmware. Organizations face serious challenges in their ability to discover and mitigate firmware threats, which is why Microsoft is using the power and reliability of Windows Update to help keep Pluton up to date.
Physical attack resistance
Research from the FBI shows that a laptop is stolen every 53 seconds on average. The University of Pittsburgh found that a laptop has a 1 in 10 chance of being stolen during its lifetime and that 98% of stolen laptops are never recovered. Even if the attacker has complete physical possession of the PC, the co-existence of the AMD CPU with Pluton on the same silicon die makes physical attacks on the hardware substantially more complex and costly.TravelMate P4
Industry standards support
One of the capabilities Pluton provides is a fully compliant TPM 2.0 implementation. Devices using the Pluton TPM 2.0 offer all the same features provided by other TPMs but benefit from the CPU integrated security posture, the design for renewability, and Windows TPM based features that are validated to run seamlessly on Pluton. Microsoft remains committed to support industry standards and certifications and have formally submitted the AMD Ryzen based Pluton implementation for FIPS 140-3 cryptographic module validation. Microsoft is also committed to ensure that the TPM functionality in Linux can use Pluton just like any other TPM.
Acer TravelMate devices also meet Secured-core PC requirements
In addition to incorporating Pluton, the Acer TravelMate P4 and TravelMate Spin P4 also meet Microsoft’s Secured-core PC requirements, ensuring they can meet the needs of the most security conscious customers. Secured-core PCs strengthen protection against advanced threats such as kernel attacks from ransomware. Secured-core PCs help prevent malware attacks and reduce the impact of firmware vulnerabilities by launching into a clean and trusted state at startup, with a hardware enforced root of trust, stopping infections in their tracks. Virtualization-based security comes enabled by default. And with built in hypervisor protected code integrity that protects system memory, Secured-core PCs help ensure that all operating system code is trustworthy, and executables are signed by known and approved authorities only. Our data shows that these devices are 60% more resilient to malware than PCs that don’t meet the Secured-core specifications.
Continuing the Pluton journey with the Windows ecosystem
Our OEM partners are leveraging platforms from silicon partners to offer customers Windows systems with Pluton enabled. This is the continuation of a journey with the Windows ecosystem to bring the Pluton benefits of cloud-delivered, continuously updated protection with physical attack resilience to more Windows systems over time. Look for updates from Microsoft and our partners in the future around expanded hardware availability of Pluton.