This is just an awful news story.
"TPM" stands for "Trusted Platform Module." It's a chip that may soon be in your computer that will try to enforce security: both your security, and the security of software and media companies against you. It's complicated, and it will prevent some attacks. But there are dangers. And lots of ways to hack it. (I've written about TPM here, and here when Microsoft called it Palladium. Ross Anderson has some good stuff here.)In fact, with TPM, your bank wouldn’t even need to ask for your username and password -- it would know you simply by the identification on your machine.
Since when is "your computer" the same as "you"? And since when is identifying a computer the same as authenticating the user? And until we can eliminate bot networks and "owned" machines, there's no way to know who is controlling your computer.Of course you could always “fool” the system by starting your computer with your unique PIN or fingerprint and then letting another person use it, but that’s a choice similar to giving someone else your credit card.
Right, letting someone use your computer is the same as letting someone use your credit card. Does he have any idea that there are shared computers that you can rent and use? Does he know any families that share computers? Does he ever have friends who visit him at home? There are lots of ways a PIN can be guessed or stolen.
Oh, I can't go on.
My guess is the reporter was fed the story by some PR hack, and never bothered to check out if it were true.
(Via Schneier on Security.)