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Intel tries to wangle China crypto-standards deal

TCM + TPM = TXT

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Intel has revealed it’s working behind the scenes to strike a deal with Chinese regulators that will effectively make the country’s closed crypto standard Trusted Cryptography Module (TCM) interoperable with the rest of the world.

TCM was invented in the People’s Republic as a home-grown rival to the Trusted Computing Group’s Trusted Platform Module (TPM) – a hardware authentication standard related to chips of the same name which store cryptographic keys to uniquely authenticate host devices.

Jason Fedder, Intel’s GM of data centre products in Asia Pacific, told El Reg at a Chipzilla Cloud Summit on Tuesday that the firm is trying to thrash out interoperability between TCM and TPM with government, academia and other related parties in the People’s Republic.

The closed standard hasn’t been popular among Chinese banks because of its non-interoperability with TPM, but the integration roadmap between the competing standards is lengthening – because Intel has to get the Trusted Computing Group on board and account for the next version of TPM which is coming out soon, he added.

Of course, there’s something in it for the chip giant – its Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) relies on TPM so it needs to thrash out interoperability in order to sell it in the People’s Republic.

The US ITC has already slammed China for going it alone with “indigenous innovation” and complicating global supply chains.

The Chinese TCM requires that cryptographic algorithms and protocols used to perform specific security tasks, such as verifying that only authorized codes run on a system, be based on Chinese technology. US industry representatives have raised concerns that Chinese development of TCM is motivated by the desire to reduce royalties for patents embedded in TCG technology standards and that it will negatively affect interoperability and globally integrated supply chains.

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