Staying Ahead In A Constantly Evolving Security Landscape

Security is such a fast moving industry. I’d like to highlight three important things that happened in the past couple of weeks while I was travelling across EMEA. First and foremost, McAfee announced that we had reached a major milestone in our acquisition of Stonesoft, an industry-recognized leader in next-generation firewalls, by completing the tender offer that was announced on 6th May. This is our largest acquisition since McAfee was acquired by Intel. It follows our mission and goal to provide our customers with the most comprehensive, effective and integrated security solution in the industry. I am very pleased with this new step as network security is one of the critical security pillars. Coupled with our best in class IPS Solution, Stonesoft’s next generation firewall will provide incredible value to our customers and to our preferred partners in the network security area. Moreover, it is a perfect fit with McAfee’s Security Connected platform.

Secondly, as cybercrime is expanding with new malware alerts, a recent white paper, “Cybercrime Exposed”, written by McAfee CTO EMEA, Raj Samani, and McAfee Labs Threat Engineer, François Paget, with foreword by Troels Oerting, Head of EC3 European Crime Centre, highlights a major shift in the cyber threat landscape. Cybercriminals no longer need to be technical experts. All they have to do is to hire and pay someone to do the work for them. It is a new service-based model of online crime. Four types of services are highlighted in the study:

  • Research: connecting buyers and resellers for activities such as zero-day vulnerabilities.
  • Crimeware: selling exploits and tools for hacking.
  • Infrastructure: distributed denial-of-service incursions, spam and malware to victims.
  • Hacking: the most costly option which enables end to end outsourcing of a malicious project.

Thirdly, after four months of intense investigation, McAfee Labs reported that the Dark Seoul attack on South Korean Financial services and media firms includes a broad range of technology and tactics beyond the Master Boot Record (MBR) wiping functionality. When the attack was discovered, it was about infected PCs which had all of the data on their hard drives erased. The forensic data analysed by McAfee Labs indicates that Dark Seoul is actually just the latest attack to emerge from a malware operation, “Operation Troy”. It uncovered a missing element: a long-term domestic spying operation, based on the same code base, against South Korean targets.

What is important to note is that these attacks have been happening for over four years. The discovery of Operation Troy was possible because McAfee focused on intent rather than attribution, the “what” and “how” of the cyber threats in question, rather than the “who.”

In conclusion, as cybercrime becomes easier, we are likely to see even more cyberattacks in the coming months and years. In addition, Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) make it difficult for cybercrime to be discovered and identified. To meet these new challenges, organisations need a global approach; from risk and security assessment, to threat intelligence, to security connected technologies, to forensic analysis. Our customers can experience the full scope of our McAfee Security Connected portfolio and services when they visit our Executive Briefing Centre (EBC) in Amsterdam. At McAfee we are our customer’s trusted advisor; our unique concern is to ensure that our customers are well prepared for the complex cyber security challenges that lie ahead. All these topics were also on the agenda of our yearly EMEA Talent Forum which occurred a week ago in Spain. It is always refreshing to have fruitful conversations with some of our top talents in the theatre. I just returned from our executive mid-year meeting in New York. Amongst the topics discussed, we reviewed the agenda of our 6th Annual McAfee Security Conference, Focus13.

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