In 2023, cyberattacks inflicted an estimated $11.5 trillion in damage, including monetary losses, service disruptions, and more. As we increasingly rely on computers in every sector of life imaginable, this number is bound to increase, reaching a predicted $23.84 trillion in 2027. 

Understandably, computer hardware and software manufacturers are working to make sure this doesn’t come to pass. In an ongoing effort to stay ahead of cybercriminals, manufacturers are implementing security features like Trusted Platform Modules (TPM) to bring advanced cryptographic protection to data. 

Cryptography and Computer Technology

Cryptography, also known as cryptology, is the process of hiding or encoding information so that only the person authorized to access it can do so. Cryptography has existed for almost as long as writing, from simple letter switches to children’s decoder rings to the famous Enigma cipher of World War 2. 

The advent of computers has greatly expanded cryptography’s capabilities. Combining computer science, engineering, and mathematics leads to incredibly complex cryptographic codes that are nearly impossible to break while still being decipherable with the correct key. Encrypted information, such as a patient’s medical records or a business’s financial history, appears as a jumble of meaningless numbers and letters while encrypted, protecting it from prying eyes. 

TPM: Cryptography In A Chip

A TPM is a discrete and separate chip from the CPU, memory, or GPU on a computer’s motherboard that generates and stores cryptographic keys. Computer security software programs and services use TPM chips to create cryptographic keys, confirm that the operating system and firmware are secure, and verify that they haven’t been tampered with. Virtual and software-based TPMs also exist but are not as secure as a separate chip. 

TPMs are primarily used during a computer’s boot sequence to verify the computer has not been tampered with. The chip automatically supplies a unique cryptographic key, which matches with another key stored on the computer’s hard drive or solid-state drive to decrypt it. 

These keys are generated via algorithms such as Rivest-Shamir-Adleman (RSA) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which have been chosen for their extreme difficulty to crack. If the keys match, the drive can be accessed as usual. However, if either the TPM or the drive has been tampered with, the data becomes inaccessible.

In addition to their role during the boot-up sequence, TPMs are also used by other programs and hardware. For example, email clients and web browsers will use TPMs to handle encrypted messages or maintain website SSL certificates. An SSL certificate allows computers to use SSL/TLS encryption, a more secure way to access websites on the Internet than standard methods.

How Different Sectors Rely on TPMs

Given the additional security they offer, it’s no surprise that many businesses are embracing TPM chips and integrating them into their computers. 

TPMs in Healthcare

Given how often healthcare businesses are targeted for cyberattacks, any additional security should be considered a top priority. TPMs can help ensure that any patient data stored locally on a medical computer is encrypted and secure against unauthorized access. A TPM chip can also help monitor incoming data and prevent tampering, which is extremely useful during remote monitoring. 

TPMs in Industry

In industrial applications, TPMs are primarily used to secure passwords and data stored on industrial computers. This is especially important in rugged or remote environments where computers are not under constant surveillance. In these areas, criminals may try to access the computer by uploading malicious software via a USB drive. However, a TPM can automatically detect such software and lock out malicious actors. 

Regardless of their application, TPM 2.0 is on pace to become a standard piece of equipment for PCs going forward, especially after Microsoft made it mandatory for any computer running Windows 11. As people transition to the latest operating system, implementing TPMs will become standard practice for manufacturers. 

Closing Thoughts

As the statistic mentioned at the start of this article shows, a growing reliance on computers comes with a growing vulnerability to cybercrimes. Businesses must embrace new methods to protect their data and operations regardless of their sector. By implementing TPM chips in their computers, users can take full advantage of powerful cryptographic tools to protect themselves.

If you’re looking for computers equipped with TPM chips for your healthcare group or business, contact the team at Cybernet Manufacturing. We’d be happy to review the numerous cybersecurity features our computers implement, including TPM chips, biometrics, and single-sign-on authorization. 

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