Intel puts security on chips to foil password hackers

Intel unveiled a new line of business chips Tuesday that could foil hacker attacks while reducing reliance on complicated company passwords that employees struggle with on a daily basis.

The enhancement is embedded in Intel’s latest sixth generation vPro processors designed for business computers. It operates in hardware, below the software that is commonly compromised by hackers.

The security feature, “called Intel Authenticate,” defends against “phishing” and other so-called social engineering schemes for tricking people into give up their passwords.

Instead of relying on complicated passwords, employees would be identified through various “factors.” These could be a short identification number, proximity of a company badge or a user’s smartphone, location of the PC and a thumbprint.

Clearing an employee “no longer has to rely solely on employees remembering complicated passwords,” the company said in its announcement.

“One of the biggest keys to this is there is a secure element inside the Intel processor that manages all of this,” said Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy. “That wasn’t available before. A lot of different pieces had to come together.”

Intel vice president Tom Garrison said that corporate IT managers can decide what factors to use for identification. “IT has full control,” he said.

Garrison said an estimated 117,000 phishing attacks every day are trying to snag passwords and usernames.

The new chip will be tested by select businesses before it enters production, Garrison said.

Photo: Password fatigue (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)


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