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Details Intel security features and improvements in 13th Gen vPro processors

Security has been a big topic for computers in recent years, thanks in large part to the big stories of hackers taking computers hostage via ransomware (WannaCry being a particularly infamous example). Although many hacks are done through the good old fashioned social engineering, ultimately malware is software and the ideal protection against it is within the computer itself, even within the hardware. Hardware-based security is exactly what Intel claims its 13th Gen CPUs with vPro are capable of.

Intel vPro is best described as a security platform marketed primarily to businesses. It is only available for systems that meet specific CPU and motherboard requirements, which naturally leads to OEM-manufactured devices being the most reliable way to get vPro compatibility. Unlike AMD with its Ryzen Pro APUs, Intel hasn’t created specific chips for vPro; Instead, the hardware features on their CPUs are enabled or enhanced by the software and firmware features granted by vPro. This technology is now available for the 13th generation of CPUs, about half a year after it was first released.

The latest generation of vPro seems to have been a success, as Intel says its vPro PC portfolio for 2023 will include more than 170 PCs from several of its partners, many of which have already been announced. New features available for vPro CPUs running Windows 11 include virtual process encryption and kernel protection for Windows virtualization-based security (will be added in a future Windows update). Some features are only supported on Intel vPro Enterprise processors, while some core features are also available in Intel vPro Essentials, which most 13th Gen Intel Core family are eligible for.

However, it wouldn’t be Intel’s commercialization without two commissioned studies. In one white paper by IDC Research, the final conclusion is that Intel PCs are 14% cheaper than “other PCs” (read: AMD PCs) in the long run. The other, conducted by SE Labs, tested the security capabilities of Intel and AMD CPUs and determined that Intel has a significant advantage, mainly because Intel CPUs can detect malware better than AMD chips. SE Labs even gave Intel an award for its achievement, though Intel’s sponsorship of the study reduces the award slightly.

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