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Roots of Trust (RoT)

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Roots of Trust (RoT) is a set of functions in the trusted computing module that is always trusted by the computer’s operating system (OS). The RoT serves as separate compute engine controlling the trusted computing platform cryptographic processor on the PC or mobile device it is embedded in.

The RoT provides the functionality behind trusted computing features including

  • On the fly drive encryption.
  • Detection and reporting of unauthorized changes to the operating system or programs.
  • Detection of rootkits.
  • Memory curtaining to prevent programs from inappropriately reading from or writing to another program's memory.
  • Hardware-based digital rights management (DRM) support.

Critics argue that this level of control given to the RoT and trusted computing could be used anti-competitively to control what software is used in a computer or deny control of copyrighted data or other user data. Furthermore, although the hardware makes it harder for someone to remotely circumvent the security mechanisms, they could be overcome by physical modification.

This was last updated in January 2014

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