Hewlett-Packard (HP) has released its new ProtectTools Embedded Security chip in its line of D350 series motherboards for business computers. The new chip, called Trusted Platform Module (TPM), operates independent of other system components such as the processor, memory, and OS. HP said TPM will enhance file and folder encryption in Microsoft OSs.

HP said each chip is unique and bound to a specific system. Each chip creates a unique root encryption key that is stored in silicon, making the keys very difficult to compromise. HP sees the technology as a benefit to more than just file and folder encryption. The company foresees the chips being used for user authentication, smart cards, tokens, wireless encryption protocols, email encryption, and network access. The company has released a document that outlines the new technology.

HP is a member of the Trusted Computing Group (TCG), which is developing "open industry standard specifications for trusted computing hardware building blocks and software interfaces across multiple platforms, including PCs, servers, PDAs, and digital phones. This will enable more secure data storage, online business practices, and online commerce transactions while protecting privacy and individual rights." Other members of TCG include AMD, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, National Semiconductor, Nokia, NVIDIA, Philips, Sony, and VeriSign.