RSA 2011: McAfee Targets Embedded Device Security With Wind River Pairing

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McAfee is looking to break the shackles that kept it chained to PC security by teaming up with Wind River to put its security into embedded and mobile devices.

The partnership, announced Wednesday at RSA Conference 2011, is a joint technology and go-to-market play from Santa Clara, Calif.-based McAfee and Alameda, Calif.-based Wind River, which develops operating systems, middleware and software design tools for embedded computing systems. Wind River's main products include VxWorks, a proprietary real-time operating system, and Linux software for embedded applications. It also provides a range of product design services and development and testing tools.

Under the terms of the partnership, McAfee and Wind River will develop, market and support security solutions specifically to manage and protect non-PC embedded devices.

Both Wind River and McAfee have been acquired by Intel. Wind River was acquired by Intel in 2009 for roughly $1 billion. And while it's still pending closure, Intel's $7.68 billion acquisition of McAfee last year is expected to be completed within the next few months. Intel's McAfee buy has already overcome several hurdles, most recently receiving clearance from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in December and winning approval from the European Commission in January.

McAfee President and CEO Dave DeWalt said the Wind River partnership will be the first of many tie-ins McAfee expects with Intel and Intel-owned companies. With Wind River, McAfee will be able to tackle the management and security challenges companies face as embedded devices that traditionally had no connectivity become connected to enterprise and public networks.

"We have a chance to embed security into an operating system layer," DeWalt said, adding that as embedded devices become increasingly more connected they could be vulnerable to attack and require additional protection. The massive increase in connectivity is driving growth in security vulnerabilities and a security breach of an embedded device, such as nuclear reactor controls, utility grid or other systems could have serious implications. Embedded devices have also become a prime target for organized crime and nation states, as proven with last year's Stuxnet attack.

Under the partnership, McAfee will integrate its security tools into Wind River's operating systems in embedded devices like ATMs, set top boxes, Google Android smartphones, satellite systems and more; devices that are increasingly becoming connected to the same networks and systems as PCs.

"These devices are connected and the need to securitize these devices becomes more acute," said Ken Klein, Wind River president.


Next: The McAfee-Wind River Embedded Device Security Roadmap

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