Intel and McAfee Explain Security on Silicon

Intel and McAfee have been explaining how security will be bolstered by building better links between security software and hardware.

In his keynote at the RSA Conference George Kurtz, McAfee's chief technology officer, explained how security would have to move through the seven layers of the Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model) down to the first layer of silicon components.

"The existing security model is broken," he said.

"The point of migrating down the stack for is for visibility - if you can peer under the operating system you can see malware very easily, you have much better visibility."

In order to be effective malware needs not only to get onto a target system but also execute. If execution can be blocked then the presence of malware isn't a problem. By creating a "root of trust" between software and silicon then the effects of malware can be greatly mitigated.

Intel will not just be working with its newest purchase McAfee. Symantec too is joining with the company on a similar system and George Thangadurai, General Manager of Intel's PC Client Services Group, explained the thinking behind the move during a separate keynote session.

Intel had traditionally been built around two pillars he said, performance and energy efficiency. However, security was now the third pillar of the company's philosophy and the company was looking for ways for make computers more secure on a chipset level.

"We don't want to have to make people carry tokens or smartcards," he said.

"As we go forward enterprises will get over the barrier of two factor authentication in an easier fashion."

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