Intel and McAfee executives talked about the combined patent portfolio that allowed them to focus on providing security from the hardware level in embedded and mobile devices.
Intel will use assets acquired from McAfee to build security features right
into the chip for embedded devices and to provide cloud security services for
Two weeks after closing the
, Intel executives explained the rationale behind the
$7.7 billion deal in a conference call with Wall Street analysts. Renee James,
an Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Software and Services
group, and Dave DeWalt, president of the wholly owned but independent McAfee
subsidiary, discussed on March 15 how McAfee's products and systems will protect
mobile devices and embedded applications from cyber-attacks.
"Malware is blowing off the charts," explained DeWalt. "I've
never seen anything like it. And on top of this, the number of devices is
Intel wants to build security management capabilities directly into hardware
that would allow mobile and other endpoint devices to communicate in real time
with cloud-based services. The services will provide up-to-date protection for
the devices including detecting and blocking malware, authenticating users, and
verifying IP addresses and Websites, James said.
Intel could have bought smaller companies to build up its security business
and spent less, but realized very quickly the company needed both security
software and a complete service platform, James said. McAfee already had a
security service cloud that it had been working on for five years in addition
to security software, she said. It would have taken Intel far too much time and
a lot of money to replicate what McAfee had already done, James said.
McAfee will be extending security capabilities and visibility into small
embedded devices that can be used by attackers to gain access into enterprise
networks such as laptops, smartphones and tablets, DeWalt said. Intel can
develop embedded computers for printers, televisions and cars, and bake
security right into the device, he said. He also noted the security needs of
nuclear power plants during the conference call.
McAfee will work closely with the Wind River
subsidiary, which makes operating system software for a variety of embedded
devices, including ATMs and network gateways, according to DeWalt. McAfee is
set to roll out McAfee for Wind River at the end of the
"We can bake security directly into the OS, directly with
manufacturers," DeWalt said.
The plan is to provide more security-assisting features on Intel's future
chips that help speed up and improve McAfee software performance. Instead of
running security as a layer on top of the operating system, Intel wants to push
it down below, DeWalt said. The company already has chip-based features, such
as VT, which secures and manages virtualized environments, James said.
"The further you move security down the stack, the more visibility of
the architecture you get," DeWalt said.
By expanding McAfee's ePolicy Orchestrator framework, businesses can
remotely manage laptops and other endpoint devices with Intel vPro technology, such
as accessing the device, decrypting or encrypting the data, and applying
patches, according to DeWalt.
"Now we can give one pane of glass to view all these devices on the
network," said DeWalt.
McAfee may have been just an antivirus software vendor five years ago, but
since then has expanded into firewalls, intrusion prevention, servers, storage
and endpoint security for mobile devices, DeWalt said. The mobile security
products are either embedded in the device or sold by cellular phone carriers,
and provide features such as remote wipe, encryption and location awareness, he
Even though McAfee has been in the mobile security market for five months,
in the fourth quarter of 2010, it added 1.25 million users, DeWalt said.
Another 246 enterprises have deployed McAfee software on mobile devices and
internal networks, including the United States
government, he said.
With an installed base of over 300 million endpoints, McAfee products can
track what is happening in real time on endpoints by processing messages and
sending information back to the company's back-end security systems for
analysis, DeWalt said.
Intel has acquired over 20 software companies over the past three years,
retained more than 90 percent of the employees and gained access to valuable
intellectual property, James said. Examples include Wind River,
which gave Intel a broad and deep access to the embedded systems market, and
Havok, a gaming company, whose engineers were "instrumental" in
designing the feature set for Sandy Bridge
chips, according to James.
Intel plans to make more security acquisitions, and future acquisitions will
be managed by DeWalt, James said.
"People will pay for security," James said, noting that it's not a
PC/embedded issue. "It's an enterprise, PC, handset/mobile, embedded
across the board," she said.