Microsoft's latest wheeze to lock down your PC from the ill-meaning is to totally lock down its firmware.
Firmware is the base-level code that starts up your PC before handing off to an OS like Windows. It dictates basic functions and underpins everything. Trouble is, it's also been the subject of attacks which harm your PC at the base level.
And these attacks are on the increase, with NIST’s National Vulnerability Database showing a five-fold increase in such attacks. The problem is that they're hard to remove - even swapping the hard drive over might not remove the vulnerability.
Now Microsoft has launched a tech called Secured-core PC that it will introduce in cahoots with PC manufacturers and chip manufacturers Intel, AMD and Qualcomm. After all, hardware manufacturers are responsible for the firmware on your PC, rather than Microsoft.
It'll be able to be managed through the operating system and is, essentially, a successor tech to Secure Boot, introduced in Windows 8. The OS will be able to tell if the machine booted securely or whether the firmware has been compromised in some way.
A Secured-core PC will have code to prevent attacks like those described above. The code will sit underneath Windows to provide another layer of protection and prevent knock-on problems, such as unauthorised access to your data.
The capability is available inside latest-gen Surface, HP, Levovo, Panasonic and Dell devices destined for places where data security is paramount, but it should come to more and more Windows PCs as time goes on.