Next-Generation Secure Computing Base

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The Next-Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB), formerly known as Palladium, is a software architecture designed by Microsoft which is expected to implement parts of the controversial "Trusted Computing" concept on future versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system. NGSCB is part of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative. Microsoft's stated aim for NGSCB is to increase the security and privacy of computer users,[1] but critics assert that the technology will not only fail to solve the majority of contemporary IT security problems, but also result in an increase in vendor lock-in and thus a reduction in competition in the IT marketplace.

NGSCB relies on hardware technology designed by members of the Trusted Computing Group (TCG), which provides a number of security-related features, including fast random number generation, a secure cryptographic co-processor, and the ability to hold cryptographic keys in a manner that should make them impossible to retrieve, even to the machine's owner. It is this latter ability that makes remote attestation of the hardware and software configuration of an NGSCB-enabled computer possible, and to which the opponents of the scheme chiefly object.[2] Several computer manufacturers are selling computers with the Trusted Platform Module chip, notably IBM/Lenovo ThinkPads and the Dell OptiPlex GX620.[3]

Microsoft has not published any materials regarding NGSCB on their MSDN site since March 2004, and none of the principal features described in the existing NGSCB materials have appeared in the two major versions of Windows since 2004 (Windows Vista and Windows 7).

Contents

Architecture and technical details

A complete Microsoft-based Trusted Computing-enabled system will consist not only of software components developed by Microsoft but also of hardware components developed by the Trusted Computing Group. The majority of features introduced by NGSCB are heavily reliant on specialized hardware and so will not operate on PCs predating 2004.

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