High Scores Feel Like Winning: The Race to Stop Malware is On

There is no feeling like winning – winning when you’ve really worked hard for something that is meaningful. We love to win races, and games, and awards.  When I was in school, I also equated good test scores with winning.  This familiar feeling came rushing back to me last week when my team presented the February 2013 AV-TEST Results for McAfee Network Security Platform (NSP 7.5), our IPS solution for the enterprise.

We recently released NSP 7.5 and I’m really proud of its capabilities.  It’s been engineered to defend against advanced threats – or ‘unknown’ malware – like the ones that have been disabling the networks of many high-profile banks.  In fact, our latest release dramatically improves an organization’s ability to defend against the unknown with Advanced Malware Detection and Advanced Botnet Protection.  At the RSA Conference, I was fortunate to share how we’ve made over 38 enhancements to nine products, with NSP 7.5 to be among the first to integrate our comprehensive malware protection approach.

In February 2013, AV-TEST.org performed a review of McAfee NSP 7.5 to determine the scope and efficacy of our malware detection and blocking capabilities. McAfee commissioned AV-TEST.org to run an independent test just in time for us to present the findings at RSA.  I was blown away with the results and incredibly proud of the engineers and developers who were successful in improving the solution to be so effective against malware.  These tests are fair and unbiased – based on samples we did not influence nor have any knowledge about prior to.  Further, these tests are typically run against web gateways and were not adjusted for IPS, so the stretch for McAfee NSP 7.5 to perform well in this environment – the first IPS to undergo this scrutiny – emphasizes McAfee’s competence against malware.  In fact, our advanced threat protection capabilities in this solution are so unique in the industry that I think competing simply as an IPS fails to capture its full potential.

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In our quest to up the ante on advanced malware protection, it’s certainly validating to receive test results that show we were successful with our enhanced NSP release.  With pride, I announced at RSA that our combined advanced threat protection was 96%.  This rating was based on the combined and average results of our testing for Prevalent Malware, Rogue Software, Backdoors, and Bots.  (See chart)

From an overall testing perspective, the results were very impressive based on over 113,000 samples consisting of Prevalent Malware, Backdoors, Bots, Rogue Software, Trojan Horses, Viruses and Worms.  Another impressive rating was our 00.18 percent false positive rate – because according to AV-TEST.org, “The best detection rate is worthless if it involves a high false positive rate.”

In the past, my team has heard some of our competitors making claims that McAfee NSP is weak on malware protection.  This report proves these rumors are dead wrong.  Not to mention, our closest network protection vendors must not feel as confident as McAfee since they did not commission a similar third-party report to prove that their solution is as effective as they say.

As far as I’m concerned, McAfee is racing far ahead of the pack on this anti-malware technology.  We will pick up the pace in the next few months when our network security solutions receive an injection of even stronger anti-malware technology – with the acquired sandboxing technology from ValidEdge that will form the foundation of advanced malware protection.  I don’t believe anyone actually crosses the finish line in the race against network threats, but at McAfee we are definitely working toward a personal record in this competition.

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