Microsoft Announces First Windows 11 Pluton Security Based Devices
New Windows 11 PCs, powered by Microsoft's Pluton security chip, will start releasing this year, Microsoft announced during this week's CES 2022 event.
First revealed in late 2020 as coming to PCs, Microsoft's AMD-based Pluton chips are designed to curb the growth of ransomware attacks by storing sensitive data, like passwords and encryption keys, at the hardware level, making it much harder for attackers to access the information. Microsoft has previously rolled out Pluton chips in its line of Xbox consoles and IoT Azure Sphere products.
On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that in conjunction with its partners AMD and Lenovo, the ThinkPad Z13 and Z16 laptops will be the first Windows 11 devices to include the Pluton security chip when the devices arrive in May.
Describing how these new laptops will leverage the increased security, Microsoft's David Weston, director of Enterprise and OS Security, wrote the following:
The Pluton security processor's firmware will be updateable through Windows Update along with standard industry controls. This tightly integrated hardware and software helps protect against security vulnerabilities by adding additional visibility and control, and provides a platform for innovation that allows customers to benefit from new features in future releases of Windows that leverage the Pluton hardware and, with this design, are adaptable to changes in the threat landscape.
The two new entries in Lenovo's business laptop line will also come with the latest AMD Ryzen Pro 6000 series processors, which Lenovo says is the first X86 processor to provide "powerful security from chip to cloud on Windows 11 PCs."
Weston said that working closely with Microsoft OEMs on devices using the Pluton chip is necessary to achieve the level of security aimed with the chip, and the company is working closely with other hardware partners on future releases.
He also reiterated that devices, like the two new Lenovo business laptops, will help IT secure its growing remote workforce, as the Pluton chip, in conjunction with partner hardware, will also provide data on the expected state of devices that might not be on-premises.
"In the future these signals will also be reported to cloud services like Intune, through the Microsoft Azure Attestation service, so that they can be used by IT administrators to take a step further in the zero-trust security paradigm of verifying as much as possible before authorizing access to any privileged resources," said Weston.
Lenovo's ThinkPad Z13 will be priced starting at $1,549, and the ThinkPad Z16 at $2,099. Learn more about the full specs here.