Home > Computer Security > What’s up with the Trusted Computing Group?

What’s up with the Trusted Computing Group?

After reading the post and comments at Cyber Arms the other day about Trusted Computing (TC) and the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), I decided to spend some time at the Trusted Computing Group Website.   I was introduced to the concepts behind TC several years ago and while I agree that it has its strong points, I have my own concerns and issues with the technology that I won’t get into here.  As a result, I haven’t paid much attention to its development over the years.

While browsing the TCG Website, I stumbled upon an article that struck me in a negative way:

“Trusted Computing is perhaps one of the most misunderstood (willfully misunderstood, to be frank about it) emergent technologies for computer security. The misunderstanding starts from Wikipedia’s entries on Trusted Computing, and continues through hundreds of articles and blogs.”  Five Great Reasons to Adopt Trusted Computing

The first thought that came to mind is, “Why is it so misunderstood?”  Yes, some of it is rocket science to most people, but it’s not that hard to understand if someone makes the effort to explain things in terms that non-rocket scientists can understand.  Leaving all this misinformation to its own devices isn’t doing the initiative any good and just makes people even more unwilling to consider or try the technology.

Below are a few things the TCG can do to demystify Trusted Computing, set the record straight, improve its image and promote its technologies.

1. Completely redo the TCG Website.  For starters, there should be a link front and center that reads, “What is Trusted Computing?” That link should go to a video and text summary that explains things in layman’s terms that even my mother could understand. A lot of other information at the site needs to be simplified and rewritten so it isn’t so confusing and vague. The technology can’t come across as, “Built by rocket scientists for rocket scientists” and it can’t come across as black box technology either. Make it simple to understand, get rid of all marketing fluff and just be honest.

2. If certain things on the Wikipedia pages are technically incorrect, then those things need to be corrected. The negative opinions about TC need to be address in a different way. See below.

3. Why is it, that when I go to founding member Websites, I don’t see the TCG logo anywhere on the homepage? Are they embarrassed or something? Shouldn’t these guys be proud to be a part of the TCG? Shouldn’t they be promoting the technologies? I don’t get it. Founding members definitely need a TCG logo on their respective homepages, even if it’s small.

4. The TCG needs to reinvent its image and promote itself and its technologies just like Intel did when it started its campaign to become a household name.  Public relations and marketing is the key to adoption and expansion. People should want to have a TPM in their computers.  Many people already have the technology in their computers, but don’t know it. Why is that?

5. The TCG needs a YouTube channel with some well-rehearsed and informative technical presentations.  People need an easy way to learn about the technology without having to sift through hundreds of whitepapers.

6.  The TCG needs a more reliable Web host.  I was unable to access the site several times throughout the week, including today. What’s up with that?

7. A lot of the negative campaigning against TC has to do with taking a capability, putting some negative spin on it and then amplifying the spin using an example that gives TC a negative connotation.  The TCG needs to address all this negativity head on with a frank discussion as to why what some people are saying is misleading and untrue. If the some of the statements are true based on context, then it’s the TCG’s turn to spin things in the opposite direction and put something negative into a more positive light, to show why a capability is actually a good thing.

If the Website were up, I’m sure I could go on for a few more pages, but I think everyone gets the gist of what I’m trying to get at.  While public relations and marketing is often mystifying, it’s definitely not rocket science.  All of the above is easy to enough to address, it’s just a matter of making a decision to do something about it. And if the TCG disagrees with my opinions and is happy with thing are, then so be it.

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  1. June 27, 2010 at 2:43 am

    Well said Mr. Reiner! :)

  2. June 27, 2010 at 3:21 am

    I was kind of taken aback by that as well. Now, I’ll grant the guy that Wiki should be taken with a grain of salt, but that doesn’t mean everything there is junk. And I have yet to see the guy put up a single example of something inaccurate with Dieterle’s post. Kind of hard to trust someone with securing your data streams when they’re so thin skinned. LOL

    • June 27, 2010 at 7:57 am

      There are definitely some interesting points being made in the Wikis about TC. A rebuttal would certainly help people see both sides of an issue.

  3. July 6, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Interesting article! That quote is from some article marketing I did for my blog, so I was surprised when the TCG web site picked it up…

    Anyway, on to the meat:

    1. But, but, it won an award for best organisation web site last year…

    2. User “walklooker” wrote a very good, technically correct rewrite, but the page guardians did not like it, saying it was too technical.

    3. Agreed.

    4. Agreed.

    5. A few of the TCG companies have YouTube videos on Trusted stuff – Wave, Juniper, HP, OKL to name a few. There needs to be a collected channel/playlist wrapped in suitable logos and the like. Most of the stuff is pretty technical, though.

    6. AGREED! Even at our members meeting it gave up the ghost. The back-end private area was fine (if you had a direct URL bookmarked) but the public front-end was dead. It’s just static HTML (I think) and a Joomla blog, and even with the HTTPS overhead, given an Alexa rank of over a million, you could probably run the front end on a $5 hosting account!

    7. Yes, there’s few people sticking their heads above the parapets – perhaps we all fear the wrath of the freetards ;-)

  1. July 7, 2010 at 4:05 pm

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