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Intel To Demonstrate LaGrande Security Technology At IDF

On the heels of the latest group of critical security warnings from Microsoft, Intel at its fall developer forum next week is slated show off its hardware-based security technology.

The technology, code-named LaGrande, will be demonstrated in silicon by Intel president and COO Paul Otellini at the Intel Develop Forum (IDF) in San Jose, Calif., Sept. 16 to 18, an Intel spokesman confirmed.

LaGrande, is a security engine that is built into Intel Prescott CPUs and chipsets, expected in the second half of the year. It aims to protect a system's data in ways software-based solutions currently can't offer. The technology will isolate data by setting up "virtual vaults" in hardware that are less vulnerableb to viruses or hackers, while also separating applications so contaminations can't be spread from one software program to another, Marc Varady, Intel marketing manager for platform security, told CRN at last year's IDF. (See story.)

LaGrande comes at a time when security technology is in high demand, as viruses and worms, such as the recent Sobig worm that was considered the fastest outbreak ever, attack in increasing frequency.

Intel's technology, which is expected to work along side Microsoft's own security initiatives, is expected to lock some key parts of the operating system into "virtual vaults" where it's harder to alter.

But although technology is expected to be available in silicon later this year, an Intel spokesman said it would be several years before it could be used in a corporate environment. Software vendors, he explained, need to write applications that take advantage of the hardware security structure.

Many VARs and white box builders welcome a shot at increasing PC security. Others, however, are more skeptical.

"The idea of trusted communications across components within a computer

chassis, does not, unto itself make the computer secure," said Adam Lipson, president and CEO of Network and Security Technologies, Pearl River, NY. "Computers still have dial-up and network ports connected to them. The vast majority of security attacks are infiltrated against flawed software. I'm not sure how Intel fixes this problem. Bad coding practices on a good processor result in the same -- a vulnerability that can be exploited."

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