Intel Security won’t officially be known as McAfee – an independent company – until it wraps its $4.2 billion spinoff from parent Intel in the second quarter of 2017, but that didn’t stop it from making an unofficial transition at its FOCUS 16 event in Las Vegas this week.
It’s only been six years since Intel acquired McAfee for $7.68 billion to beef up its security software and services and to build better security into its hardware. Of course, Intel never fully did away with the McAfee brand; reverting to it is expected to eliminate confusion — in particular among global customers.
When the spinoff is done, Intel will maintain a 49 percent share of McAfee, with the remaining 51 percent owned by private equity group TPG.
Channel Partners attended this week’s security-fest at the Aria in Las Vegas. Our image gallery offers highlights.
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When attendees entered the Day 1 general sessions, the décor was all Intel Security blue throughout the Aria. When we exited the ballroom two hours later, every piece of signage throughout the three levels dedicated to the conference had been changed to red, with the new McAfee logo. Event staff even switched up the drama lighting. The effort involved 110 people and definitely made an impact.
McAfee brought in Ted Koppel, performance artist Rives and Ashton Kutcher to address attendees. Koppel talked about his book, “Lights Out,” which discusses the consequences of an attack on the U.S. energy grid.
Kutcher’s Q&A with Young drove some discussion among attendees. The actor and venture capitalist, who has invested in companies from Uber to Meercat to Spotify, decried a media landscape that’s willing to take advantage of data breaches and that celebrates the people doing the dumps. Essentially, it’s a matter of trickle-down attacks as we exchange of privacy for convenience. Today, the targets are politicians and celebrities.
“As more and more people become targets, more and more people will become paranoid,” he said. Yet some eyebrows went up when Kutcher bemoaned an inability to get his personal assistant to use two-factor authentication — perhaps not an optimal admission to a crowd of security professionals.
There were calls to action: Kutcher asked attendees to consider donating time to his nonprofit Thorn Technology Task Force, which works with the tech industry, law enforcement and NGOs to fight the sexual exploitation of children and stop human trafficking on the dark web. Koppel suggested stockpiling water and freeze-dried food before what he sees as an inevitable attack on the grid that could take months to recover from.
CTO Steve Grobman described an exploit to take over a self-driving car through a flaw in the IoT in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) system.
BeyondTrust is among eight new members of the Intel Security Innovation Alliance. The companies announced a plan to work on certifying PowerBroker for Windows, which delivers least privilege management, with McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO).
“Plain and simple, users have way too much access and user privileges to corporate assets,” said Joseph Schramm, vice president of strategic alliances at BeyondTrust. “We will now be able to engage the McAfee partner ecosystem to offer least privilege management on Windows. This integration is fully integrated with McAfee ePO, providing a united and simpler approach to least privilege and endpoint security to our joint customers.”
Excessive user privileges are a root cause of data breaches, and a good place for partners to add value.
“The integration of PowerBroker and McAfee ePO will provide our partners with tools to help overcome the complexity involved with removing admin rights while also enhancing endpoint protection,” said Schramm.
SIA member Rapid7 announced that its Nexpose is fully integrated and compatible with McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO) and McAfee Data Exchange Layer (DXL).
Lee Weiner, chief product officer at Rapid7, told Channel Partners that the integration is helping to reduce the burden on stretched security teams by automating the data collection and correlation process and providing a continuous view of the IT environment all the way to the endpoint.
“Organizations that use Nexpose and McAfee DXL will be able to leverage the underlying communications technology and framework that connects products across vendors,” said Weiner, adding that the DXL framework will let customers’ security tools work more effectively.
“Joint customers will see malicious file infections and new vulnerabilities as they are discovered across the ecosystem,” he said. Weiner says this type of integration is critical.
“Meaningful integrations are critical to the evolution of our industry, helping IT and security professionals do their jobs effectively and increasing organizational alignment – they’re what allows us, as a community, to move forward,” he said.
Rapid7 also took home Most Valuable Partner of the Year at the Security Innovation Alliance Developers Conference (SIA DEVCON), held in conjunction with the Intel Security FOCUS Conference.