【Japan Himalaya League】 Author: ZiChen (子辰) Translator: Ranting
Recently, Microsoft launched a new personal computer (PC) operating system, Windows 11, which set off a wave of upgrades around the world, but many Chinese users in the Communist China were shown “This computer cannot run Windows 11” when they downloaded it.
The key to the problem is in a small chip – TPM.
The full name of TPM is “Trusted Platform Module”, an international standard for secure cryptographic processors. The TPM chip can be integrated into the motherboard of a computer or added separately to the central processing unit (CPU). Mainstreaming hardware standards for TPM has been a focus of Microsoft’s push for many years. The TPM chip provides users with hardware-level data protection.
Updating and enabling TPM is a powerful measure to prevent Firmware Attack (FIA). Data published this year by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) also shows that attacks against computer firmware have increased more than fivefold in the past four years.
David Weston, Microsoft’s director of enterprise and operating system security, said on the company’s security blog that the goal of the TPM rollout is “to protect sensitive data such as encryption keys and user credentials so that malware and attackers can’t access or tamper with them.”
However, citing national security, the CCP government has issued regulations since 1999 to prohibit the import of mainstream foreign cryptographic technologies and to implement domestically produced ones. This move has affected the production and popularity of TPM chips in China. Currently, many of China’s domestic personal computers do not carry TPM chips.
Liu Yuwei, deputy chief analyst of EETimes China, wrote in an article that PCs sold in the Chinese market are either not equipped with TPM chips or can only use locally produced, domestic chips certified by the State Cryptography Bureau. He said that domestic Microsoft Surface book products and Lenovo models, for example, are equipped with the TPM chip certified by the CCP government.
The CCP has been controlling the development, sale and use of cryptographic products. The Commercial Code Management Regulations issued in 1999 stipulate that “no unit or individual shall sell cryptographic products from outside the country” and that “any unit or individual may only use commercial cryptographic products approved by the state cryptographic management agency, and may not use cryptographic products developed by itself or produced outside the country”.
In April 2005, the Communist Party’s National Commercial Code Administration Office said that foreign companies could not sell PCs with TPM security chips without permission, but could cooperate with domestic companies.
There are reports that it remains to be seen whether Microsoft will allow OEMs to launch “special edition” Windows 11 models for China without TPM chips.
This seems to give a glimmer of hope to the users in the CCP, but the “special offer” is not the “original” after all, and there are only two results for the users inside the iron wall of the CCP, either they will sigh in disbelief at the new experience of Win11, or they will enjoy the “castration” after a long night.
Post Script: This article only represents the view of the author.
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Posted by: Ranting