Intel recently hosted the Innovation Conference in San Jose. Innovation is focused on the developer community and offers participants the opportunity to discover the latest technologies and innovative IT solutions. The event also showcased the value Intel places on security and empowering developers and customers with industry-leading hardware and software solutions that raise the bar for security.
Greg Lavender’s Day 2 keynote provided an update on Intel’s Project Amber initiative. Intel pioneered confidential computing and designed Software Protection Extensions (SGX) to facilitate secure computing. However, organizations must be able to establish a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) across cloud platforms, SaaS applications, and other external environments. Project Amber was therefore developed to provide an independent third-party trust authority.
Intel Security ChalkTalk
In collaboration with Intel Innovation, Intel also hosted a Chalk Talk session with the media. Anil Rao, Vice President and General Manager of Systems Architecture and Engineering for Intel, and Amy Santoni, Intel Fellow, presented Intel’s security plans and priorities and answered questions from the audience.
Anil started the Chalk Talk session by outlining the four core areas Intel is focusing on in security. First, he stressed that safety is a mindset and that it is important that every engineer in the company and every engineer in partner organizations understands that they have to think about safety from a mental view. The other three pillars of security are technology (and secure technology engineering, assurance, and transparency) which deal with how the business responds to security incidents and resolves open issues, and finally protection. from Intel itself. Anil noted that Intel is a big company and a top target, and it’s critical for Intel to adopt security best practices and continue to raise the bar on security.
He gave an overview of Confidential Compute. Organizations have been protecting data at rest and data in transit for a while now, but Anil pointed out that the threat landscape has changed and that is no longer enough. Things like insider attacks, in-memory attacks, and privilege escalation attacks mean we also need to protect data while it’s in use. “Confidential computing as a technology is invented to solve this last mile problem with encryption and data protection,” Anil explained.
Amy discussed the trust boundary and how a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) is different from a standard virtualized environment from a cloud service provider. She also explained Control-Flow Enforcement (CET) technology, which is supported in fourth-generation Xeon Scalable processors. “There are certain attacks where when you make a call, jump or return, as you jump into your code, it will protect you against that class of attack.”
Focus on safety
Many companies focus on security, but very few are able to influence the security equation as strongly as Intel. As I wrote in 2020 when I first covered the concept of CET, “malware will continue to exist. Developers will continue to create applications that contain weaknesses and vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit. Cybercriminals will continue to develop innovative workarounds and new exploits to continue the cybersecurity cat-and-mouse game. However, these applications run on hardware, which puts Intel in a very strong position to help solve the problem.
CET, SGX, Confidential Compute with TEE, and now the addition of “Project Amber” as an independent third-party trust authority, all demonstrate Intel’s ongoing commitment to security. Through hardware and software initiatives, Intel remains focused on innovative solutions that improve trust in computing, while increasing the cost of entry for threat actors and making it more difficult to execute successful attacks. .
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