AMD adding ARM processor to bolster security
13th Jun 2012 | 19:14
Upgrading to ARM's TrustZone security is an 'important step'
AMD announced a partnership with ARM that will see ARM's Cortex-A5 processor architecture implemented with future x-86 chips in a move to boost security.
ARM's Cortex-A chips feature TrustZone, which has become a standard for hardware-based security throughout the tech industry, according to today's press release.
AMD's goal in adopting ARM's Cortex-A5 and TrustZone security is to "provide a consistent approach to security spanning billions of internet-connected mobile devices, tablets, PCs and servers," according to the release.
TrustZone security will be featured on select x86 APUs next year, with a wider variety of products supported in 2014.
How TrustZone's security works
Most of today's smartphones and tablets use ARM processors, and TrustZone is a feature on all of ARM's Cortex-A chips.
TrustZone creates two virtual processors and divides a device's functions between one less-trusted "world" and one that's more secure.
Both can operate independently while drawing from the physical core.
Functions like mobile payments and content streaming through applications such as Netflix are handled by the more secure virtual processor, making them more difficult for hackers to breach.
AMD could expand into tablets
AMD announced in February that the chip giant would be changing its design methodology to make it easier to include third-party solutions like ARM's TrustZone architecture in their chips.
But the partnership with ARM could be about more than just security. AMD, like their main competitor, Intel, have yet to expand into the tablet space, a market in which ARM has flourished.
AMD's growth in the PC market has reportedly slowed, causing speculation as to what else the company could collaborate on with ARM.
But AMD's statements have so far indicated that the upcoming integration with ARM's Cortex-A5 chip will be solely to bolster security. AMD is also likely playing catch-up with Intel, who acquired security firm McAfee last year.
"As technology becomes more important to our everyday lives, security needs to be present in every single device," said Ian Drew, ARM's executive VP of strategy, in the press release.
"We're making another important step towards a solution," he finished.
AMD has not yet responded to TechRadar's request for additional comments.