I am just back from Focus12 Las Vegas, where the McAfee Security Conference was being held. We kicked off the show with McAfee co-President Mike DeCesare, followed by our CTO Mike Fey. Our guest Desperate Housewives star, Eva Longoria came on stage to speak with Mike DeCesare about her strong involvement in various philanthropic activities including child protection. At McAfee this is a concern we share: making the cyber world a safer place for all of us and for our children in particular.
On the second day, we had another star – President George W. Bush! He certainly knows what Cyber-defense and Cyber-Security means. What a great panel!
Among the important trends and topics discussed, Mike DeCesare mentioned social media as one of the key drivers influencing the evolution of the threat security landscape. In fact, it is quite easy to do some social engineering –gathering information from social profiles and sending individuals targeted malicious links. As other key inflection points of the industry, Mike DeCesare spoke about computing, big data, mobility and the exponential growth of mobile applications. Information has become the new currency – bad guys target the information not the device. Mike Fey, our CTO, joined Mike DeCesare on stage. He became more specific about the different types of attacks. Quite scarily Mike explained that some new malware could not only steal information but also destroy all the files from the infected machine. He mentioned the Shamoon attack which hit Energy firms in the Gulf this summer. This type of attack could announce a new generation of attacks disabling systems at the kernel level. Moreover, as malware writers become more comfortable developing kernel-level attacks, the method could be used to facilitate any number of fraudulent activities.
In response, McAfee believes that security tools will need to move down to the kernel level as well, building security protections directly into the hardware itself. In fact since we joined the Intel Family, hardware integration has been a top priority for us. I am impressed by the number R&D we have working on hardware security; it equals the number of people security companies have to work on their entire products. Given the dramatic change of the threat landscape and the discussions I regularly hold with our customers, I see it as critical to have adequate resources to innovate in terms of product development and threat management. Intel reinforces our strength and gives us the firepower to fight the bad guys.
We also had some important announcements:
- In the End Point Arena, as part the Security Connected Approach, we provide innovative context-aware security to defend against known and unknown advanced threats
- We announced an interesting move in the embedded space with our partnership with Xerox to secure their printers from malware. I am sure a lot of us never thought that their printers might the weak links of their security posture!
- And finally, we closed the industry security gap with intelligent and integrated Real-Time Asset Discovery. Today 20 to 50 per cent of devices residing on networks remain unknown to the manager. You can only protect what you see.
As partners are key to us, we hold our own EMEA Partner Summit as part of the global Focus12 Partner Summit. We had about 120 of our key EMEA partners who joined us in Las Vegas. In addition to the global overview of what we see happening in EMEA and the status of the security market, we went through all of the exciting new things we have put in place for our partners in the last couple of months. The most important change was the launch of our Profitability Stack during the summer. This program is absolutely unique and brings a lot of value to our partners. I already got some fantastic feedback from both our customers and partners who attended the event. This Focus edition was really exceptional!