Free Rootkit with Every New Intel Machine

Peter Gutmann pgut001 at
Sat Jun 23 08:48:40 EDT 2007

Jeff.Hodges at writes:

>my understanding from a person active in the NEA working group (IETF) is that
>TPMs these days "come along for free" because they're included on-die in at
>least one of said chips.

Check again.  A few months ago I was chatting with someone who works for a
large US computer hardware distributor and he located one single motherboard
(an Intel one, based on an old, possibly discontinued chipset) in their entire
inventory that contained a TPM (they also had all the ex-IBM/Lenovo laptops,
and a handful of HP laptops, that were reported as having TPMs).  He also said
that there were a handful of others (e.g. a few Dell laptops, which they don't
carry) with TPMs.

I've seen all sorts of *claims* of TPM support, but try going out and buying a
PC with one (aside from IBM/Lenovo and the handful of others) - you have to
look really, *really* hard to find anything, and if you do decide you
specifically want a TPM-enabled MB or laptop you're severely restricting your
options (unless it's a Lenovo).

Unless something truly miraculous happens, TPMs are destined to end their
lives as optional theft-discouragement gadgets for laptops (assuming they're
running Windows XP, or possibly Vista if you can find the drivers).  They've
certainly failed to make any impression on the desktop market.


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