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Jeff Hindenach

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Intel, McAfee Look to Redefine Consumer Security

Posted: 01/07/2013 11:42 am

Almost two years after Intel completed its acquisition of McAfee, the two popular tech names have taken another step in integrating the chip-maker's hardware with the popular security software. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas today, Intel and McAfee announced new technology that they've been developing over the past year that will pair McAfee's software with Intel's hardware to provide consumers with a more personalized security experience.

"This is a fundamental shift from protecting your device to protecting what you do," Gary Davis, VP of Global Consumer Marketing for McAfee, explains.

The announcement couldn't come at a better time for McAfee, which spent much of December trying to distance itself from the bad press surrounding its founder, John McAfee, even though he hasn't been affiliated with the company for over 18 years.

While details about the new software offering are in short supply, Davis said it will be available on all devices and it will incorporate hardware-assisted security that will allow McAfee software to talk to the hardware. It seems that the software might resemble a hybrid of McAfee's All Access protection for consumers -- which protects all of your devices from PCs to mobile devices -- with their DeepSAFE technology for businesses, which is hardware-assisted security that sits beyond the operating system, close to the CPU, to provide an extra level of protection.

"We're combining the best McAfee security technology with the best Intel security technology," Davis said. "There will be a deeper level of security embedded in the silicon."

Why Should Consumers Care?

For now, it's hard to tell what the new McAfee offering is going to look like. The new software is in beta and the consumer version won't be available until mid-year. That, coupled with the lack of details about the new product, make it difficult to figure out just exactly how groundbreaking this technology could be.

That being said, the details we do know are worth getting excited about. The hardware-assisted security could be a game changer for McAfee's consumer offerings, since they are the only Internet security software company that has access to the world's largest chip maker.

Security on Two Levels: Hardware-assisted security helps protect your devices on an additional level that other security software suites can't reach. Having an extra level of security outside of the operating system allows McAfee to provide real-time kernel monitoring to detect and block advanced, hidden threats, such as stealth rootkits and APTs.

Extra Data Security: The new Intel hardware is now linked to the hard drive, so if your hard drive is stolen, it cannot be used by another computer. This gives data stored on your hard drive an extra layer of protection.

Concierge Service: Users who buy the new software will have access to an exclusive 800 number and online chat that will be like "their own personal security tech support," Davis said. Users can call in about new viruses or malware that they hear about and get support on how to protect their computers against them.

McAfee is also touting increased security when it comes to identity and personal data protection, but isn't giving any specific details about these upgrades.

So what happens if you don't own an Intel device? If any of your devices are not Intel-based, the new software won't offer the extra hardware-assisted protection, but will still provide McAfee security.

"You get the highest level security on an Intel device. If you don't have an Intel device, you still get a high level of McAfee security, but you won't get that extra level of protection," Davis explains.

McAfee will be demonstrating their new consumer-focused technology to its partners during CES, but the demonstration is invitation-only.

 
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