All Surface devices are Secured-core PCs: here is what this means
Microsoft revealed today that all of its Microsoft Surface devices are Secured-Core PCs. Announced in 2022 for the first time, Secured-Core PCs combine hardware, software and firmware defenses to protect against threats.
Microsoft writes its own firmware and software for its Surface devices. It controls and manages the "entire ecosystem" to "keep data safe and secure".
Recently, the company pledged six years of firmware and driver updates for all Surface devices released in 2021 and later.
Secured-Core PCs need to meet certain requirements regarding firmware and hardware. Microsoft lists these on a support page.
This includes Secure Boot, Trusted Platform Module 2.0 and Direct Memory Access Protection on the root level. Surface devices have Secure Boot enabled by default and configured to only trust Microsoft firmware. The feature is designed to block malicious software from running early during system start.
Secure Boot verifies components such as the bootloader on start to make sure they have not been tampered with.
Other Secured-Core PCs requirements include integrated defenses against firmware level attacks. Microsoft lists System Guard Secure Launch with System Management Mode isolation as one of the protective features.
On the OS and software level, Hypervisor Code Integrity, Windows Hello and Bitlocker encryption are integrated. Hypervisor Code Integrity is designed to block the execution of unverified code on the system.
Microsoft VP Surface Development, Scott Fudally, gives four examples in the announcement:
- Protecting against vendor vulnerabilities.
- Streamlining security improvements -- Microsoft's control of firmware, drivers and the device helps it react faster to security issues and threats.
- Enabling seamless and secure sign-in.
- Managing hardware access -- IT admins can control and deactivate components at the firmware level.
Microsoft's Surface division decreased by 22% in the last quarter according to the latest earnings call by the company. Revenue of all other divisions was up; even Windows revenue increased by 4%.
Windows and Surface head Panos Panay announced this quarter that he is leaving Microsoft. The reason for the departure is unclear. Panay is rumored to join Amazon's hardware division in the near future.
The focus on Secured-Core PCs for all Surface devices could give Microsoft's loss-making division a much needed boost. It remains to be seen how dedicated Microsoft will be in regards to Surface. New devices were announced last month, including a new Surface Laptop Go 3, a surface Laptop Studio 2 for Business and a new Surface Go 4.Advertisement