Hewlett Packard (HP) has launched its first PCs containing a separate chip on the motherboard for encryption and data security.
The company's d530 range of business PC includes an optional hardware chip to handle encryption and identity management.
The Infineon chip allows the user to set up multiple identities on the same computer with different security ratings for each, and offers public key management for data encryption.
The company will be rolling out the chip across its entire business PC range. Users will be able to disable the chip, either from the Bios or by physically removing it from the motherboard.
IBM launched a similar system a year ago but HP has been spending time on building a less expensive, more secure interface, HP said.
Stefek Zarba, principal scientist at HP's trusted systems laboratories, said: "We've been working on this technology for nearly six years.
"It's been a bit of a culture shock for blue-sky thinkers in laboratories dealing with hard-nosed hardware manufacturers who are very sensitive to price increases in production."
HP is one of the founding members of the Trusted Computing Group, a body it set up with Intel, Microsoft and Compaq and which now also includes AMD, Sony and NEC.
The goal of the group is to set up hardware and software standards that will eliminate intellectual property theft and the use of unauthorised software.
HP has also unveiled some of the software tools it will use as part of its move towards more secure computing.
Data tagging will play a large part in its plans to stop unauthorised data leaving a computer system and being read by unauthorised users.
All data will have a non-removable tag added by the operating system, which can only be read by a user with the correct decryption rating and a compatible operating system.
The company has also come up with a new form of public key encryption. Identity Base Encryption involves using any kind of public key, from an email address to a picture. A third party can then decrypt and return the messages.
Additional third parties can be used for extra security.
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