Datacenter Trends

Cisco To Integrate Intel's Silicon-Level Security Tech in Tetration

The new technology from Intel comes as hardware-based security and modern CPU threats like Meltdown and Spectre increasingly make headlines.

This month's RSA Conference showcased a wide range of new products from dozens of security vendors.

One product debut that should catch the attention of datacenter pros was Intel's new Threat Detection Technology (TDT) solution, and Cisco's plan to integrate part of that solution in its Tetration platform.

The TDT is designed to utilize silicon-level telemetry and functionality to improve the detection of cyber threats and exploits on today's widely used systems, and potentially next-generation technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain, Intel said in a statement.

This release comes on the heels of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, revealed in January, which affected many chips from Intel and AMD.

The TDT provides two capabilities: Accelerated Memory Scanning, which is a silicon-level capability for detecting advanced security threats; and Advanced Platform Telemetry, which combines platform telemetry with machine learning algorithms to improve the detection of advanced threats and reduce false positives.

It's this last capability that Cisco is planning to integrate into its Tetration datacenter security and cloud workload protection platform. The platform is designed to provide holistic workload protection for multicloud datacenters by enabling a zero-trust model using segmentation.

"This approach allows you to identify security incidents faster, contain lateral movement, and reduce your attack surface," the company explained.

One critical capability for datacenters: The platform takes an infrastructure-agnostic approach, supporting both on-premises and public cloud workloads.

Interest in hardware-based security has been growing over the past few years, and Intel and other chipmakers are addressing that interest with increasingly sophisticated product offerings. This release is also seen as a response to Meltdown and Spectre, which exploit hardware vulnerabilities in modern processors.

Meltdown, which affected Intel chips and one ARM processor, allows any application to access all system memory, including memory allocated for the kernel. Spectre affects Intel, AMD and ARM chips; it allows an application to force another app to access arbitrary portions of its memory, which can then be read through a side channel.

Intel also launched a new framework called Intel Security Essentials, with which the chipmaker will standardize built-in security features across its processors -- including Core, Xeon and Atom -- to help ensure a consistent set of critical "root-of-trust" hardware security capabilities. The framework will add platform-integrity technologies for secure boot, hardware protections, accelerated cryptography and trusted execution enclaves to protect applications at runtime, the company said.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].


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