McAfee taps the cloud to take on Net malware

Net security solutions specialist McAfee has its head in the cloud -- literally. By shifting the bulk of millions of 'signatures' -- the fingerprints by which they recognize a piece of malware -- from their clients' machines to the Internet cloud, the company has managed to significantly cut the time gap between detecting a threat and arming the client system to fight it.

What could sometime take hours, can now be done in a fraction of a second, when McAfee's new Artemis tool is deployed, senior executives explained, at a media briefing on Tuesday at the company's Bangalore development labs -- the largest outside the US.

Bucking general industry practice, McAfee has decided to incorporate the always-on, real time protection of Artemis across its entire Net security product line and not just to high end enterprise customers, explained Jeff Green, Sr Vice President of McAfee's Santa Clara, California (US)-based Avert Labs. In fact customers of the 2009 edition of the company's entry level consumer product VirusScan. available in India can switch on the Artemis feature, he added. Pravat Lall, Sr. Director (Engineering) at McAfee, Bangalore, explained that the 960 strong team here was involved in every aspect of business and had a hand in the engineering development of 90 percent of McAfee's product line. Its acquisition last year of data loss prevention specialist, Reconnex and last week of Solidcore Systems, have extended its India-based R&D muscle through new centres in Gurgaon and Pune respectively. Solidcore, founded by Roshan Sharma who was its Chief Technology Officer prior to the May 15 acquisition, specialises in end point security and 'whitelisting' --creating lists of safe sites that clients can safely deal with.

A macabre new strain of e-commerce has emerged says Pinkesh Shah, McAfee's Houston TX (US)-based Sr Director Product Management: H-commerce or hacking commerce which is part of a complex cyber crime ecosystem, a sort of global 'mandi' or market dealing with stolen credit cards, bank account details etc. In a first for the Bangalore-based IT media, they had a walk through of McAfee's Live Virus Control Testing Lab, which houses over 8 terabytes of malware signatures -- that's around 2 million active viruses and worms -- which are used to rigorously test all new products before they are released.

A technical paper describing the features of Artemis can be found here:

(Anand Parthsarathy, Bangalore)