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TCM built into new Macs, goes unused

updated 10:45 am EST, Mon November 13, 2006

TCM in new Macs unused

Computer researcher and Google technical staff member Amit Sing has discovered that recently manufactured Intel-based Macs feature a trusted computing module or 'TCM' chip, but that Mac OS X does not make use of the controversial technology. Trusted computing has seen widespread criticism as a result of efforts by Microsoft to use the technology to prevent software piracy. Singh, who revealed earlier this month that Apple is encrypting certain binary portions of Mac OS X to guard against easy modification, has documented the existence of the TCM chip in his recently released book entitled 'Mac OS X Internals: A Systems Approach.' "The TPM is an opt-in feature," Singh said. "Apple can't just turn it on-nobody can, other than the user." The TPM chip consists of a small memory chip, a true random number generator, a low-power processor, and several other components, according to eWeek.com.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. doemel

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Singh discovered this???

    I thought those chips were already employed in the very first Intel Macs. Or am I wrong on this. I remember the speculations in Jan/Feb this year about whether Apple did make use of these or not to prevent further unsanctioned X86 ports of OS X.

  1. Rosyna

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Old news

    This is very, very old news. In fact, Apple's stopped including the TPM chip in their new Core 2 Duo and Xeon ICBMs. They never used it in the first place.

  1. TheoCryst

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    wait a second...

    If they don't use this, then how is OS X tied to Apple hardware? Is it really just a simple hardware check (a la the System Restore disks that only work with a specific computer line)?

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    osX for PC

    This is a clear sign IMHO, 10.5 retail will be truly universal. It may also be the reason why it's taking so long to get 10.5 on the market.

  1. JulesLt

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Yup

    Yep - hardware check + encrypted binaries to make reverse engineering of said checks hard to achieve.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Re: osx for PC

    This is a clear sign IMHO, 10.5 retail will be truly universal. It may also be the reason why it's taking so long to get 10.5 on the market.

    What does that mean, truly universal?

    And why would making it 'universal' be the reason its taking so long to get to market, vs. just, say, actually needing the time to actually get it to work and perform all their testing. (Oh, wait, I forgot, us users get to perform all their testing).

    And what do you mean by "so long to get to market"? Apple announced it for next Spring (my guess is May sometime). Some people are happy that Apple isn't just trying to dump out new updates every 12-18 months just to have a new update (with their lists of 150 new features, most of which are under the hood and the user wouldn't notice a difference if it bit them on the a**).

  1. nickgold2012

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    i don't think you get it

    I think the poster meant that Apple will open OS X up to multiple hardware vendors. Something I very much doubt we will see in the near term.

  1. himself

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Wouldn't be all that bad

    The TCM module could be great for securing sensitive user data, and if it is true that it can only be enabled by the user, hopefully it can be enabled on a case-by-case basis.

    In the end, I doesn't matter to me whether it is included or not.

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