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Fırat Boyan 01.10.2020

New Windows Server Products Will Require TPM 2.0 and Secure Boot

Windows Server hardware products will be required to include certain security implementations by default, starting in January, Microsoft announced. 

After Jan. 1, 2021, new Windows Server products will be required to have the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 installed, and they'll also be required to have the Secure Boot security precaution turned on by default. In addition, the announcement implied that BitLocker encryption should be used on these servers as an additional protection against the actions of "rootkit" malware.

The announcement explained that x64 Windows Server products on the market today typically already include these capabilities, but they are considered to be options. In January, they'll be mandatory requirements for all Windows Server hardware sold.

"These requirements [coming in January] apply to servers where Windows Server will run, including bare metal, virtual machines (guests) running on Hyper-V or on third party hypervisors approved through the Server Virtualization Validation Program (SVVP)," Microsoft's announcement explained.

TPM 2.0 is a chip in machines that's used for "securely performing measurements for attestation and storing keys." It provides a reporting safeguard to assure that a system wasn't hijacked by malware at the boot-up stage. BitLocker can leverage the TPM to keep data protected, the announcement explained:

BitLocker is a native volume encryption solution for Windows Server and leverages the TPM2.0 to provide enhanced security. BitLocker leverages the TPM to ensure that volumes are only decrypted if the system booted as expected by the measurements captured in the TPM. Paired with Network Unlock, the TPM provides a scalable and secure management solution for BitLocker encryption ensuring that sensitive data is kept more secure.

At issue is the boot-up process of machines, where malware known as rootkits or "bootkits" could take action, going undetected by antivirus software. Secure Boot, a feature of Unified Extensible Firmware Interface-based machines, was a solution championed by Microsoft with the release of Windows 8 to protect against such malware.

While Microsoft will require Secure Boot for new Windows Server machines in January, it recently admitted that Secure Boot really isn't up to the task of protecting firmware, at least at the PC level. That detail arose when Microsoft explained its Secured Core PCs approach back in October. Secured Core PCs use a combination of TPM 2.0 and Windows Defender System Guard technologies to provide protections at the boot level.

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Author: Fırat Boyan

My name is Fırat Boyan. I was born in Alanya, which is one of the counties of the Antalya city, in 1985. I am a Senior System Engineer, Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) and a freelance Sworn Translator from English into Turkish and from Turkish into English affiliated with a Notary Office.  I have been living in Istanbul since 2008 and providing service in the field of Information Technologies for 18 years. I currently work for Data Market as a Senior Cloud Engineer and I have been providing System and Network trainings as a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) affiliated with Bilge Adam, which renders trainings in the field of Information Technologies. Besides, I provide IT consulting services for corporate companies as well. Please visit the page About Me to get more detailed information about me and to review the Microsoft certifications I have.