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New Manageability Solutions in TPM 2.0

Programs to solve the manageability problem can use the same techniques used with TPM 1.2 devices; but with TPM 2.0, a number of new solutions are available. Loss of a password or authorization is unfortunately a big issue in the industry—in an enterprise, many people forget their passwords or lose their smart cards every day. There's no shame in admitting it: we've all done it.

Generally, setting up a certified key on a TPM takes some effort, but doing this during provisioning time in TPM 2.0 is much easier. If users need their TPMs reprovisioned in the field, this burdens IT staff. Because IT staff are major players in computer purchasing decisions, the architects of the TPM specification needed to solve this problem. The TPM 2.0 design allows management not just of keys (so they can be duplicated on other TPMs), but also of authorizations; this is demonstrated in detail in the chapter on enhanced authorization. For now, suffice it to say that major TPM 2.0 enhancements were designed to solve this problem.


In this chapter, you have seen that many different software interfaces can be used to take advantage of TPM capabilities, and many currently available applications use TPMs.

Some of these only take advantage of standard capabilities such as those in any crypto coprocessor—creating, storing, and using keys. These basic interfaces, such as MS CAPI and PKCS, exist in a large number of applications. Taking advantage of higher-level capabilities, such as those used in attestation software, requires talking to TPM-specific interfaces instead of generic cryptographic interfaces. There are several of those for TPM 1.2 and currently at least two, Microsoft TBS and TCG's TSS, for the TPM 2.0 interface.

Finally, you saw that when creating applications that use a crypto coprocessor such as a TPM, there are rocks to avoid: the cryptographic processor may die, or a motherboard to which it's attached may have to be replaced. Even worse, the only user who knows a password may become unavailable. For the sake of manageability, you need a strategy to recover functionality after such an occurrence. Enhanced authorization, a new feature in TPM 2.0, meets this need; it is explained in chapter 14.

To continue your journey into the TPM 2.0 universe, in the next chapter we kick-start your ability to read and understand the TPM 2.0 specification.

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