With a brand new offering, Microsoft is looking to secure PCs where they're currently most vulnerable – at the firmware level. Soon enough the Redmond giant, together with a couple of its partners, will begin offering what's called a Secured-core PC.
The pitch is simple – hackers are increasingly targeting device firmware. Firmware is a type of software which lies below the operating system and allows both hardware and software to properly operate. It usually has maximum access privilege.
It is also much harder to trace, track and eliminate. Reinstalling the operating system, or even removing the hard drive altogether, doesn't necessarily mean the firmware vulnerability will go away.
With that in mind, Microsoft is teaming up with original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to apply “security best practices of isolation and minimal trust to the firmware layer, or the device core, that underpins the Windows operating system.”
Secured-core PCs will be available from Dell, Dynabook, HP, Lenovo, Panasonic, and Surface. At the moment, we don't have a complete list of all the secured-core PCs that will be on offer, but we do know for a fact that HP's Elite Dragonfly, or Microsoft's Surface Pro X will be among them.
These, most likely, won't be your average PCs. They are designed with the financial services industry, or the government in mind. They are created for employees who work with classified intellectual property, sensitive customer data or information that could be interesting to cybercriminals.