The Many Faces of Trusted Computing

The Many Faces of Trusted Computing

What You Need to Know to Protect Critical Platforms and Data

Today, every integrator of defense and aerospace solutions is asked to provide assurances that their solutions deliver various levels of Trusted Computing. They will refer to trust and cybersecurity and any number of other security-related features. But what exactly do these terms mean? And how can an integrator be sure that a solution provides the level of protection a particular system needs? The key is to understand the role that each security capability plays in protecting the solution and the overall system.

Cybersecurity generally refers to the software side, or the data side, of security. Cybersecurity techniques may be used to verify the authenticity of software systems to make sure they have not been compromised. For example, cybersecurity authentication techniques ensure that computer boots from only signed and authorized boot code, the operating system kernel and drivers have not been altered, the application software is properly signed and authorized, and data has not been altered or accessed by unauthorized agents.

But software cybersecurity is just one side of the story. In many cases, security features that are implemented at the hardware level offer a greater ability to secure or harden, the solution because they may be harder to duplicate or crack and can operate or react much faster than software solutions. For example, cryptography is often implemented at the hardware level because speed is crucial. Hardware-based security techniques may be implemented at the system level, the board level, or the chip level within the hardware.

Many security features incorporate protection techniques at the hardware level and at the software level. Understanding the capabilities these features provide helps in understanding the level of security that has been applied.

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  • Trusted Computing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Confidentiality
  • Data Integrity
  • Authentication
  • Data Availability Techniques
  • Non-Repudiation
  • Trusted COTS Computing