Published in News

Intel chips will tell people all about your computer

by on31 October 2011

What could possibly go wrong?

Chipzilla has a good idea which it says will stop online theft by putting authentication technology into its chips that will allow websites to verify that it's your PC logging into your online account, and not an imposter or thief. Intel Identity Protection Technology is being added to the chipsets of some Core and Core vPro processor-based PCs from HP, Lenovo, Sony and others.

Jennifer Gilburg, marketing director for the authentication technology unit told Cnet that it means that users have a two-factor authentication, which adds an extra layer of security so that even if your password gets stolen, whoever knows your secret code can't get into your account without offering more identification or proof of account ownership. When a user visits a website they are be asked if you want to use the Identity Protection Technology. If you opt in, you log in, with username and password, a unique number that is assigned to that PC, so the site will know that it is associated with your account.

When you visit that site and type in your username and password, an algorithm running on the chipset generates a six-digit code that changes every 30 seconds from the embedded processor that is then validated by the site. Already eBay and PayPal have signed up to the scheme and Intel is supposed to be chatting to Amazon, Google.

While it all sounds good, the fact that the technology is there will make it a target for those hackers hired by the music and film industry to identify filesharers. Courts are starting to get a bit antsy about IP addresses being used as the only method of identification. If a Big Content hacker would work out a way of identifying an actual machine, or even using court orders to provide machine identification this could be a really nasty way to get yourself facing one of the music and film industry's over priced piracy law suits. Then there is the advertising companies who would love that identification information to track users preferences.

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