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Advanced Micro Devices on Wednesday announced plans to integrate ARM-developed TrustZone security technologies into its future highly-integrated Fusion accelerated processing units via a system-on-a-chip (SoC) design methodology by integrating ARM's Cortex-A5 core into its future products. By doing so, AMD ensures that its SoCs are on-par with ARM-based when it comes to security.

AMD plans to develop a so-called platform security processor using an ARM Cortex-A5 core that features TrustZone technology, to monitor and help protect against malicious access to sensitive data and operations at the hardware level. AMD will add the security processor into its APUs as a third-party IP block, an approach the company discussed earlier this year. Essentially, AMD will be able to offer functionality akin to Intel Corp.'s vPro, identity protection, trusted execution and other important security technologies now only found on the latest processors from its arch-rival. Some of AMD's Fusion accelerated processing units (APUs) will feature TrustZone already in 2013, other will follow in 2014.

“With AMD’s support for, and inclusion in, the expanding TrustZone ecosystem, consumers and businesses can rest assured their data and content are secured by an industry-standard security solution that spans a multitude of devices and operating systems. This example of AMD’s ambidextrous strategy, which leverages our history of x86 and graphics innovation while also embracing other technologies and intellectual property, will help drive a more secure computing experience for our consumer and business customers,” said Mike Wolfe, senior vice president and chief information officer at AMD, at the Fusion Developer Summit 2012.

ARM TrustZone technology - a system-wide approach to security - is a key component of the ARM architecture and is integrated into the ARM Cortex-A processor series. Launched in 2004, TrustZone is a result of ongoing co-development that ARM carries out with a wide range of companies and has been implemented in a wide array of devices to date. The aim of the TrustZone ecosystem is to drive industry alignment and scalability. This will enable billions of TrustZone technology-based devices to meet the system security needs of consumers, service providers, enterprises and device manufacturers. Earlier this year ARM proposed TrustZone to become an industry standard on a wide range of devices. Some of those devices will be available from AMD.

By adopting the industry-standard approach to security that TrustZone technology embodies, AMD and ARM will provide a consistent approach to security spanning billions of Internet-connected mobile devices, tablets, PCs and servers − whether they are powered by ARM processor-based solutions or AMD x86 APUs. AMD plans to provide development platforms that have TrustZone security features on select APUs in 2013, expanding further across its product portfolio in 2014. 

Tags: AMD, ARM, Cortex, TrustZone, Fusion

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