Intel is showing off a new piece of hardware-based security from McAfee that is allowing the companies to integrate new technology right into the silicon itself.
Intel and McAfee have unwrapped details about a new hardware-based security
product that offers protection for systems at the chip level. This new technology
shows how Intel plans to integrate McAfee's security and software products into
its processor portfolio.
The chip giant launched McAfee DeepSAFE, a combined hardware-software
platform that would prevent security breaches, block stealthy intrusions and stop
malicious software from being installed. Intel CEO Paul Otellini offered details about
the technology during his keynote speech at the Intel
Developer Forum in San Francisco on Sept. 13.
In DeepSAFE, the McAfee Endpoint Protection Software hooks onto the microprocessor's
security features to provide a "deeper" security footprint, according
to Intel. This allows the software to gain visibility into malware that operates
below the operating system, such as rootkits. The ability to look outside the
operating system would allow McAfee software to protect systems and expose many
attacks that are currently "undetectable."
"It is essential that devices are protected against intrusions from
security breaches and malware in more effective ways than are available
today," according to Intel.
Malware that resides in the computer's memory before the operating system
even boots up is difficult for traditional security products to detect with
their scanning capabilities. Cyber-criminals know how to evade current
operating systems-based security, so security vendors have to develop security
products that work "beyond the operating system," Intel said.
The software will not be embedded directly onto the Intel chips but rather
just be able to take advantage of hardware features already included in Intel's
Core chips and other new chips down the road, said Todd Gebhart, co-president
of McAfee. In the past, Intel had noted that a very small fraction of the
security features on its chips were being used by security vendors. DeepSAFE is
a "hardware-assisted" security product that is designed specifically
to take advantage of the capabilities on the chip.
can apply new techniques to deliver a whole new generation of protection in
real time to prevent malicious activity and not just detect infections,"
hardware and software security product is the "first of its kind" to
use hardware-based security features instead of relying on the operating
system, which "should offer a stronger offense against a number of threats
that can circumvent" the system, Hans Mosesmann, an analyst with Raymond
James Equity Research, wrote in a research note.
would allow Intel and McAfee to gain share in the security market, Mosesmann
demonstrated how DeepSAFE can be used in rootkit prevention products during his
speech. A system running the technology in McAfee Labs was able to detect and
stop a zero-day rootkit called Agony from infecting a system in real-time.
DeepSAFE platform would be the first security product from Intel after the
$7.68 billion McAfee acquisition closed earlier this year. Expected to launch
later this year for enterprises, DeepSAFE will probably not be ready for
Intel's mobile chips for another few years. McAfee will likely be deploying
DeepSAFE as part of an add-on to Endpoint Protection security service focusing
on rootkit detection. There is no timeline as to when it will be available for
consumers at this time.
combining the features of existing Intel hardware and innovations in security
software, Intel and McAfee are driving innovation in the security industry by
providing a new way to protect computing devices," said Ren??Â«e James,
senior vice president and general manager of the Software and Services Group at
Intel and the chairman of McAfee.