McAfee, Intel subsidiary Wind River join forces to head off future Stuxnet-like attacks

McAfee, which will soon be an Intel subsidiary, and Wind River, which already is one, Wednesday announced they are hardening the security of industrial commercial operating systems supplied by Wind River to makers of products such as automated teller machines, medical devices, TV set-top boxes and cameras.

The deal, announced at the RSA Conference, is expected to help bolster the security of non-PC devices that are increasingly networked, such as the sort of SCADA industrial control systems that gained worldwide attention due to the Stuxnet worm attacks against Siemens-based systems in Iran.

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"We're creating a security shell to their OS based on McAfee functionality," McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt told Network World.

The first step involves adding the McAfee ePolicy Orchestrator (ePo) agent to the Wind River OS so that security and compliance reporting can be managed through McAfee's central management console (though McAfee and Wind River's management systems will also be integrated).

McAfee and Wind River will also work together on white-listing to prevent unauthorized applications from running against the commercial OS, as well as add McAfee-provided network-access control functionality. Anti-malware may come later.

The first fruits of this work are expected to be release in March, DeWalt said.

At a press conference, Wind River President Ken Klein said that teaming with McAfee will "dramatically" improve security in an industrial commercial OS that's installed in a billion devices.

The vast majority of known malware attacks are still oriented toward Windows-based operating systems, DeWalt said. But he added that hardening an industrial operating system such as the one from Wind River will benefit infrastructure that is often less visible to the public.

Manufacturers announcing support for McAfee Embedded Security included NCR, NEC Infrontia, Sharp, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Meridian, Clearwave, PFU and Sysmex.

Wednesday's announcement about the role McAfee will play at Intel is but the first in what's expected to be a series in the near future, DeWalt said. McAfee expects to be able to very soon announce that its acquisition by Intel is complete after formal regulatory reviews.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

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Ellen Messmer

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