Microsoft reveals why Surface devices don’t support Thunderbolt

Surface Laptop 3

Last year, Microsoft launched its updated Surface lineup and
one thing that they all have in common is the lack of
Thunderbolt 3. The flagships from other PC manufacturers have
the technology as it allows users to connect two 4K monitors
and it also supports data transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps.

Lack of Thunderbolt 3 in the Surface lineup has been widely
criticized and Microsoft could have used Thunderbolt 3 in its
Intel Ice Lake-based Surface Pro 7 as the processors have
Thunderbolt 3 integration.

According to an unnamed Microsoft employee, Surface devices
don’t support Thunderbolt because the technology is insecure.

The current irritation of the Thunderbolt doesn’t deliver the
security that is really needed from the device. For instance,
Thunderbolt offers a direct memory access port and attackers
could use that port with a memory stick to gain unauthorized
access to the data.

Thunderbolt provides direct access and Windows 10 is not the
mediator, which means Microsoft’s operating system wouldn’t be
able to stop such an attack.

Security of consumers data is the reason why Microsoft has
opted to integrate USB-C and USB 3 instead, according to the

In addition to Thunderbolt support, the lack of upgradable
memory on Microsoft’s Surface has been a problem for years.
According to the same alleged Microsoft spokesperson, users can
not upgrade their Surface memory due to potential liquid
nitrogen-powered exploit.

For security concerns, Surface Laptop 3 doesn’t come with a
removable RAM. Microsoft says attackers could freeze the memory
with liquid nitrogen to read out private data.

It’s also worth pointing out that Microsoft has already started
testing various tweaks for Windows 10 to make devices that
use Thunderbolt more secure. For instance, Windows 10
Secure-core PCs support Direct Memory Access (KDP) to prevent
firmware attacks and other attacks.

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