McAfee Channel

Demystifying Advanced Threats

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By on Dec 05, 2013

Last week during the holiday break I spent a lot of time catching up on my industry reading and felt compelled to provide some clarity to you, our channel partners, on a very hot topic with customers –advanced threats.

In this blog, I will discuss the changing security threat landscape, the vital need for a connected security platform and demystify some recent comments made by our competitors.

In the simplest terms, advanced threats are more pervasive and sophisticated than ever. Advanced threats are hard to track because they are patient, they have a small footprint because they are targeted, and they can bypass digital signature validations because they can use compromised certificates.

The McAfee Labs Threats Report: Third Quarter 2013 highlights a steep increase, 50% to 1.5 million, of malware signed with digital signatures. This increased effort to circumvent digital signature validation is an attack on the foundation of today’s digital world and represents a pivotal inflection point for the security industry.

The days of being able to protect our mutual customers’ business with a point product or single security approach are over. Today’s threat landscape requires that companies employ a connected security platform that can not only find threats, but be able to freeze and fix them. Purchasing a point product that only finds the malware leaves a customer short-changed because they are still vulnerable to advanced threats.

Similarly, deploying a network security solution that employs only a signature-based approach is no longer sufficient.  Everyone knows that. While behavioral-based approaches (sandboxing) have proven effective at detecting advanced malware, they don’t block or fix. Therefore, today’s security solution must be a connected platform that uses a balance of signature and behavioral-based approaches in order to adequately find, freeze and fix advanced threats. (To learn more, I highly recommend reading McAfee, CTO, Mike Fey’s blog series on the Seven Myths of Advanced Malware.)

Fortunately for our channel partners, we took strategic steps years ago to prepare for this market inflection and together with Intel, we are ready to lead the security market transformation from point product protection that merely finds and blocks threats to an open and connected security platform that finds, freezes and fixes threats. We have the strategy, the technology, and the partner ecosystem to deliver now.

So what do you do if you have a customer that has heard the competitive fear, uncertainty and doubt that McAfee’s security approach is “flawed” or built on “older technology like antivirus?” Simple, stick to facts and more specifically these five:

  1. Many of our competitors have recently announced their strategy and intention to start integrating with other vendors; we announced our Security Connected strategy at FOCUS 2010, putting us years ahead of our competitors in the race to deliver an integrated/connected security platform.
  2. We have the broadest security portfolio in the industry, including sandboxing, thanks to our acquisition of ValidEdge, making us the only company with the ability to deliver on the find, freeze and fix strategy required to protect today’s customers against advanced threats.
  3. We have built the McAfee Security Innovation Alliances program, which currently has more than 100 vendors integrating their technology and expertise with ours to better protect our mutual customers from advanced threats.
  4. We use the knowledge of the more 500 multidisciplinary researchers in 30 countries that make up our McAfee Labs team to provide the industry’s most robust cloud-based file reputation service (Global Threat Intelligence), providing malware protection in milliseconds vs. days.
  5. As the world’s largest dedicated security company, we build products to protect and you better believe we use our vast knowledge in antivirus to optimize our protection. Don’t see our rich history in antivirus as a competitive advantage than I would suggest reading Mike Fey’s Advanced Malware Myth #3: Everybody is on the Same Page.

As we discussed at our Global Partner Summit in October, when we are Better Connected we can drive disruptive growth. One of the keys to becoming Better Connected is to be transparent, what I call “Fierce Engagement.” This blog is where I have the opportunity to be transparent with you on a regular basis. I hope you visit often and when compelled, provide comments to my blog posts as I’d like them to be more interactive. Transparency and ultimately a better partnership are based on our continuous dialog.

Let’s aim high, go hard and win together!

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