Hardware-Enhanced Security as Intel Aquires McAfee

Sue Marquette Poremba

If my Twitter feed is any indication, the biggest security news of the day is the announcement of Intel's acquisition of McAfee.


The companies say the merger will allow for a focus on hardware-enhanced security, and it could change the way security and risk management is approached in future technology. As Intel said in the announcement, today's security approach does not fully address the billions of new Internet-ready devices connecting, including mobile and wireless devices, TVs, cars, medical devices and ATM machines as well as the accompanying surge in cyber threats. Providing protection to a diverse online world requires a fundamentally new approach involving software, hardware and services.


So, what will it mean for all of those products that use Intel chips and the way we secure our multitude of devices? Hard to say just yet. My colleague Dan Berthiaume wrote:


While Intel is being fairly vague on exactly how McAfee's security and antivirus capabilities will be worked into its products, the company is promoting hardware-enhanced security as the direction it intends to take with this deal. McAfee provides a suite of software-related security solutions, including end-point and networking products and services that are focused on helping to ensure Internet-connected devices and networks are protected from malicious content, phony requests and unsecured transactions and communications.


Wayne Rash at eWEEK also pointed out Intel's other recent acquisitions, such as Texas Instrument's cable modem business. Add McAfee into the mix, and Intel could be onto something groundbreaking in the security realm. Rash wrote:


Imagine, if you will, a cable modem that includes embedded security features such as a firewall, intrusion prevention and malware detection. McAfee already has the software technology to provide this capability, and it has the engineering chops. What the purchase of McAfee does is give Intel a way to use in-house resources to incorporate security into just about everything it makes.


I'll be very interested in watching how this all plays out.

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