All eyes on NGSCB
All eyes on NGSCB Microsofts presentations on its security technologies will likely be closely watched. Since the company renamed its Palladium technology to NGSCB, the companys security efforts have been closely scrutinized. Microsoft has provided a fairly detailed explanation of what NGSCB actually is, but not of its individual components, especially the "nexus", a secure OS module that will provide protected communications with applications and memory. Microsofts hardware partners, including AMD and Intel, have been equally vague regarding how their CPUs and chipsets will implement the NGSCB technology. (Check out eWeek.com Monday for the scoop on Nexus)In his presentation, Reynolds will explain that while a firewall can lock down the front door to a corporate database, company secrets can trickle down via WiFi, handheld PDAs, instant messaging, and other holes. Through rigorous enforcement of trusted computing methods, such as a hardware controlled PIN, businesses can lock down their own data and even develop new trust-based business models, according to Reynolds. Reynolds expects NGSCB to be deployed in 2005, and almost ubiquitous by 2008. In those three years after deployment consumers will eye NGSCB, become familiar with it, and probably adopt it without protest, he said. Deploying it first to consumers would be a bad idea, however. The bottom line? "(It) needs to stay out of the consumer space for a while," Reynolds said in an email. Microsoft will discuss the user authentication modules used with NGSCB, in addition to concepts like "trusted graphics," where visuals presented by one application would not be viewable by a separate application. This likely will mean the end to "screen capture" applications, analysts said. Representatives for Nvidia and ATI Technologies said they will be involved in the "trusted graphics" presentations, and the ATI official said that ATIs "technology" would be used. In addition to NGSCB, Microsoft will offer technical tracks on a variety of subjects, most concerning the Longhorn operating system that was discussed at last years show.
Since Palladiums announcement, Microsofts strategy has been heavily scrutinized by end users worried that the DRM scheme will impede their ability to "own" their own data. For this reason, NGSCB will likely be restricted to large corporations and other businesses, according to Martin Reynolds, a Gartner fellow scheduled to talk at WinHEC about the industrys reaction to NGSCB.