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Intel buys McAfee -> Am I the only one here to notice?

Discussion in 'Intel' started by Intel Guy, Aug 22, 2010.

  1. Intel Guy

    Intel Guy Guest

    Because I test a lot of the malware samples I get on virustotal.com (and
    I see just how many AV apps detect new threats, McAfee included) and
    because of whitepapers released over the years showing how hard it is to
    detect polymorphic viral files, it's my opinion that anti-malware
    applications reached the end of their practical usefulness about 5 years
    ago, and their continued purchase and use in corporate and home/soho
    settings is nothing more than the result of habbit, inertia and
    marketing, not evidence-based performance metrics.

    All of that is a long-winded way to say that anti-malware apps are
    bullshit and a waste of money.

    So this $7 billion acquisition by intel for Mcafee is money down the
    toilet (or it should be). That valuation is off by about 2 or 3 orders
    of magnitude. Intel clearly has more money than brains.

    The recent FTC fines against Intel clearly were not large enough.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    http://newsroom.intel.com/community/intel_newsroom/blog/2010/08/19/intel-to-acquire-mcafee

    SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 19, 2010 – Intel Corporation has entered into
    a definitive agreement to acquire McAfee, Inc., through the purchase of
    all of the company’s common stock at $48 per share in cash, for
    approximately $7.68 billion. Both boards of directors have unanimously
    approved the deal, which is expected to close after McAfee shareholder
    approval, regulatory clearances and other customary conditions specified
    in the agreement.

    The acquisition reflects that security is now a fundamental component of
    online computing. Today’s security approach does not fully address the
    billions of new Internet-ready devices connecting, including mobile and
    wireless devices, TVs, cars, medical devices and ATM machines as well as
    the accompanying surge in cyber threats. Providing protection to a
    diverse online world requires a fundamentally new approach involving
    software, hardware and services.

    Inside Intel, the company has elevated the priority of security to be on
    par with its strategic focus areas in energy-efficient performance and
    Internet connectivity.

    McAfee, which has enjoyed double-digit, year-over-year growth and nearly
    80 percent gross margins last year, will become a wholly-owned
    subsidiary of Intel, reporting into Intel’s Software and Services Group.
    The group is managed by Renée James, Intel senior vice president, and
    general manager of the group.

    “With the rapid expansion of growth across a vast array of
    Internet-connected devices, more and more of the elements of our lives
    have moved online,” said Paul Otellini, Intel president and CEO. “In the
    past, energy-efficient performance and connectivity have defined
    computing requirements. Looking forward, security will join those as a
    third pillar of what people demand from all computing experiences.

    “The addition of McAfee products and technologies into the Intel
    computing portfolio brings us incredibly talented people with a track
    record of delivering security innovations, products and services that
    the industry and consumers trust to make connecting to the Internet
    safer and more secure,” Otellini added.

    “Hardware-enhanced security will lead to breakthroughs in effectively
    countering the increasingly sophisticated threats of today and
    tomorrow,” said James. “This acquisition is consistent with our software
    and services strategy to deliver an outstanding computing experience in
    fast-growing business areas, especially around the move to wireless
    mobility.”

    “McAfee is the next step in this strategy, and the right security
    partner for us,” she added. “Our current work together has impressive
    prospects, and we look forward to introducing a product from our
    strategic partnership next year.”

    “The cyber threat landscape has changed dramatically over the past few
    years, with millions of new threats appearing every month,” said Dave
    DeWalt, president and CEO of McAfee. “We believe this acquisition will
    result in our ability to deliver a safer, more secure and trusted
    Internet-enabled device experience.”

    McAfee, based in Santa Clara and founded in 1987, is the world’s largest
    dedicated security technology company with approximately $2 billion in
    revenue in 2009. With approximately 6,100 employees, McAfee’s products
    and technologies deliver secure solutions and services to consumers,
    enterprises and governments around the world and include a strong sales
    force that works with a variety of customers.

    The company has a suite of software-related security solutions,
    including end-point and networking products and services that are
    focused on helping to ensure Internet-connected devices and networks are
    protected from malicious content, phony requests and unsecured
    transactions and communications. Among others, products include McAfee
    Total Protection™, McAfee Antivirus, McAfee Internet Security, McAfee
    Firewall, McAfee IPS as well as an expanding line of products targeting
    mobile devices such as smartphones.

    Intel has made a series of recent and successful software acquisitions
    to pursue a deliberate strategy focused on leading companies in their
    industry delivering software that takes advantage of silicon. These
    include gaming, visual computing, embedded device and machine software
    and now security.

    Home to two of the most innovative labs and research in the high-tech
    industry, Intel and McAfee will also jointly explore future product
    concepts to further strengthen security in the cloud network and myriad
    of computers and devices people use in their everyday lives.

    On a GAAP basis, Intel expects the combination to be slightly dilutive
    to earnings in the first year of operations and approximately flat in
    the second year. On a non-GAAP basis, excluding a one-time write down of
    deferred revenue when the transaction closes and amortization of
    acquired intangibles, Intel expects the combination to be slightly
    accretive in the first year and improve beyond that.

    Intel was advised by Goldman Sachs & Co. and Morrison & Foerster LLP.
    McAfee was advised by Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc. and Wilson Sonsini
    Goodrich & Rosati, P.C.
     
    Intel Guy, Aug 22, 2010
    #1
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  2. Intel Guy

    Robert Myers Guest

    On Aug 22, 10:34 am, Intel Guy <> wrote:
    > Because I test a lot of the malware samples I get on virustotal.com (and
    > I see just how many AV apps detect new threats, McAfee included) and
    > because of whitepapers released over the years showing how hard it is to
    > detect polymorphic viral files, it's my opinion that anti-malware
    > applications reached the end of their practical usefulness about 5 years
    > ago, and their continued purchase and use in corporate and home/soho
    > settings is nothing more than the result of habbit, inertia and
    > marketing, not evidence-based performance metrics.
    >
    > All of that is a long-winded way to say that anti-malware apps are
    > bullshit and a waste of money.
    >
    > So this $7 billion acquisition by intel for Mcafee is money down the
    > toilet (or it should be).  That valuation is off by about 2 or 3 orders
    > of magnitude.  Intel clearly has more money than brains.  
    >


    Intel has a notoriously bad track record for managing new
    acquisitions, independent of industry. The example of a better way of
    doing things for Intel that has been held up in the business press is
    Wind River Systems, which is managed as an independent company, as
    will McAfee.

    I'm not sure how much relevance your laboratory testing has for end
    users. New exploits take a while to spread, and computers are
    challenged constantly by plenty of old threats, which do have
    recognizable signatures.

    Believing that anti-malware software will protect you from all threats
    is roughly the same as believing that washing your hands will remove
    all pathogens from your skin. Hand-washing is demonstrably useful.

    The only issue of any interest to me here is that anything truly
    interesting that Intel might do as a result of synergy with McAfee is
    likely to raise anti-trust questions.

    Robert.
     
    Robert Myers, Aug 22, 2010
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Intel Guy

    Ed Light Guest

    On 8/22/2010 7:34 AM, Intel Guy wrote:

    > All of that is a long-winded way to say that anti-malware apps are
    > bullshit and a waste of money.


    I know someone who goes to porn sites. A scan with Avast found 2 items,
    and Malwarebytes found about 6.

    Malwarebytes, running in memory, stops me from going to a bad thing (if
    not a false positive) about once a month. That is on tech sites, and
    progressive news sites.
    --
    Ed Light

    Better World News TV Channel:
    http://realnews.com

    Iraq Veterans Against the War and Related:
    http://ivaw.org
    http://couragetoresist.org
    http://antiwar.com

    Send spam to the FTC at

    Thanks, robots.
     
    Ed Light, Aug 22, 2010
    #3
  4. Intel Guy

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    On 22/08/2010 12:02 PM, Robert Myers wrote:
    > The only issue of any interest to me here is that anything truly
    > interesting that Intel might do as a result of synergy with McAfee is
    > likely to raise anti-trust questions.


    Totally different industries, won't affect anti-trust. However, analysts
    are already telling people to hold off on using McAfee products.

    Yousuf Khan

    ***
    What the Intel/McAfee Merger Means for Enterprise Security Managers
    "Forrester analyst Andrew Jaquith is already warning enterprise IT
    managers to avoid making long-term commitments to McAfee solutions until
    they can see how things shake out."
    http://www.readwriteweb.com/enterpr...tm_campaign=Feed: readwriteweb (ReadWriteWeb)
     
    Yousuf Khan, Aug 22, 2010
    #4
  5. Intel Guy

    Robert Myers Guest

    On Aug 22, 2:05 pm, Yousuf Khan <> wrote:
    > On 22/08/2010 12:02 PM, Robert Myers wrote:
    >
    > > The only issue of any interest to me here is that anything truly
    > > interesting that Intel might do as a result of synergy with McAfee is
    > > likely to raise anti-trust questions.

    >
    > Totally different industries, won't affect anti-trust. However, analysts
    > are already telling people to hold off on using McAfee products.
    >


    They don't have to remain totally different industries. Security can
    be in silicon, too. Anything in software can be in silicon.

    Robert.
     
    Robert Myers, Aug 22, 2010
    #5
  6. Intel Guy

    Intel Guy Guest

    Ed Light wrote:

    > > All of that is a long-winded way to say that anti-malware apps
    > > are bullshit and a waste of money.

    >
    > I know someone who goes to porn sites. A scan with Avast found 2
    > items, and Malwarebytes found about 6.


    What an AV app (Malwarebytes included) will do is tell you that it
    detected some malware. That will usually happen after some recent
    signature update.

    Problem is, the malware that it just detected actually got onto your
    system 1 to 6 months ago, and was the first stage of a multi-state
    malware load. The real payload (trojan or backdoor or rootkit) is
    hiding itself and still running on the system, despite what the
    anti-malware software thinks.

    If that's not bad enough, really good malware will deactivate your
    installed AM (anti-malware) software and will install it's own
    bootlegged version of Kaspersky so it can protect itself from *other*
    malware that might try to get into the system.

    When I get the latest zlob or waledac (or what-ever) botnet loader
    mailed to me as an attachment on a direct-to-mx spam, I usually see a 10
    to 25% detection rate on virustotal for that sample, and after a few
    weeks that number might rise to about 50%.

    If you want to pick up some current / new malware samples for your own
    testing, go here:

    http://www.malwaredomainlist.com/mdl.php

    Use wget to grab some shit and then upload it to VT.

    > Malwarebytes, running in memory, stops me from going to a bad thing
    > (if not a false positive) about once a month. That is on tech sites,
    > and progressive news sites.


    Use an updated hosts file (good for blocking click-tracking and ad
    delivery shit, also for persistent malware domain sources).

    You'll see ad-server farms get infected every once in a while, serving
    up exploits in iFrames, and those are easily blocked by a hosts file.

    I personally have stuck with Windows 98se, for all my routine computing
    and web-surfing, which in hindsight was a good choice because XP was a
    total security and vulnerability disaster for the first 5 years of it's
    life.

    The joke about win-2K and XP was that if you took a virgin installation
    of those OS's and hung them on the internet without a firewall (which
    was typical during the years 2000 to 2004 until consumer-grade DSL
    modems came with NAT turned on by default) then your system became
    infected with a network worm before you were able to perform your first
    windows-update session (see - "Windows Survival Time"). Win-9x/me was
    *not* vulnerable to any network worm (in contrast, there have been about
    6 or 7 different worms that affect NT-based machines over the past 10
    years).

    Even the pdf exploits that became popular starting about 2 years ago
    don't function properly on Win-9x running acrobat reader 6.x.

    The recent .lnk shortcut vulnerability that required an OOB patch from
    Micro$oft a few weeks ago doesn't work on win-9x systems.

    Things got so bad for Microsoft and XP back during the years 2004-2006
    that Microsoft ROUTINELY stated in most or all of their security KB
    articles that the vulnerability described in the KB applied to 98 in
    addition to the usual laundry list of NT-based OS's. The inclusion of
    win-98 to the list was an outright lie, but they figured that nobody was
    checking. It was bad optics that their flagship OS was vulnerable to
    these new vulnerabilites while the old OS they were trying to sweep
    under the carpet wasn't vulnerable.

    When it came to security and vulnerability, XP was the "emperor with no
    clothes".

    But too many people were influenced by peer pressure that they had no
    choice but to downgrade to it.
     
    Intel Guy, Aug 22, 2010
    #6
  7. Intel Guy

    Ed Light Guest

    Ed Light, Aug 22, 2010
    #7
  8. Intel Guy

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message
    <>
    Robert Myers <> was claimed to have wrote:

    >They don't have to remain totally different industries. Security can
    >be in silicon, too. Anything in software can be in silicon.


    Modern AV really relies heavily on definitions and heuristic analysis,
    so a purely silicon solution likely won't be effective against modern
    threats since threats can adapt around the silicon's limitations faster
    than InteAfee could adapt their hardware. Hardware could be optimized
    to handle AV scanning more easily than a pure software solution though,
    especially if the hardware could scan executable code in real time,
    rather than delaying application and data file access while scans are
    performed.

    Could be interesting to see what direction they go.

    There are other possible approaches to security that could be done in
    hardware outside of scanning based solutions (things like DEP are an
    example of a hardware enabled approach), but I'm not sure that Intel
    would need or want McAfee's talent if building functionality into chips
    to enable safer computing is the direction Intel wants to go.

    I also freely admit that both companies have people smarter than me and
    they might have better ideas than what I can dream up.
     
    DevilsPGD, Aug 23, 2010
    #8
  9. Intel Guy

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message <4c7166f2$-lp.com> Yousuf Khan
    <> was claimed to have wrote:

    >Totally different industries, won't affect anti-trust.


    I think it depends on the direction that Intel goes with this
    acquisition. If they use their dominance in one field (CPUs, chipsets)
    to artificially create a dominance in another field then it falls into
    the definition of what antitrust legislation is intended to prevent.

    However, if they maintain McAfee as a separate product line or otherwise
    avoid bundling, then I'd agree that it shouldn't be an issue at all.
     
    DevilsPGD, Aug 23, 2010
    #9
  10. Intel Guy

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message <4c71975c$0$17899$> Ed Light
    <> was claimed to have wrote:

    >Do you think that a firewall that blocks unknown outgoing connections
    >can control all that? I use ZoneAlarm.


    In short, no. At best they'll catch lazy malware, but more likely
    they'll just offer a false sense of security.

    Once malware is running on your machine with administrative rights,
    nothing on your machine can be trusted, the malware can bypass or
    reconfigure your security software if it's coded to do so.
     
    DevilsPGD, Aug 23, 2010
    #10
  11. Intel Guy

    Robert Myers Guest

    On Aug 22, 7:24 pm, DevilsPGD <Still-Just-A-Rat-In-A-
    > wrote:

    > I also freely admit that both companies have people smarter than me and
    > they might have better ideas than what I can dream up.


    If I were Intel, I'd see security as an opportunity. I doubt if
    anyone would put today's fairly feckless solutions into hardware, but
    having a McAfee in hand might be helpful to learn to think like a
    hacker to come up with something less feckless.

    If hackers can be devious, so can the makers of silicon.

    Robert.
     
    Robert Myers, Aug 23, 2010
    #11
  12. Intel Guy

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message
    <>
    Robert Myers <> was claimed to have wrote:

    >On Aug 22, 7:24 pm, DevilsPGD <Still-Just-A-Rat-In-A-
    >> wrote:
    >
    >> I also freely admit that both companies have people smarter than me and
    >> they might have better ideas than what I can dream up.

    >
    >If I were Intel, I'd see security as an opportunity. I doubt if
    >anyone would put today's fairly feckless solutions into hardware, but
    >having a McAfee in hand might be helpful to learn to think like a
    >hacker to come up with something less feckless.
    >
    >If hackers can be devious, so can the makers of silicon.


    Yeah, this is true. Hackers have an advantage though; they only need
    one hole to win, whereas when you're making silicon you need to close
    every hole, and you need to do it without impeding legitimate
    functionality.
     
    DevilsPGD, Aug 23, 2010
    #12
  13. Intel Guy

    Robert Myers Guest

    On Aug 22, 8:25 pm, DevilsPGD <Still-Just-A-Rat-In-A-
    > wrote:
    > In message
    > <>
    > Robert Myers <> was claimed to have wrote:
    >


    > >If hackers can be devious, so can the makers of silicon.

    >
    > Yeah, this is true.  Hackers have an advantage though; they only need
    > one hole to win, whereas when you're making silicon you need to close
    > every hole, and you need to do it without impeding legitimate
    > functionality.


    There are actually some fairly straightforward things you could do. I
    suspect that Intel will go somewhere with it. You can't defeat the
    hackers, but you can make life much harder for them.

    Robert.
     
    Robert Myers, Aug 23, 2010
    #13
  14. Intel Guy

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    On 22/08/2010 7:24 PM, DevilsPGD wrote:
    > In message<4c7166f2$-lp.com> Yousuf Khan
    > <> was claimed to have wrote:
    >
    >> Totally different industries, won't affect anti-trust.

    >
    > I think it depends on the direction that Intel goes with this
    > acquisition. If they use their dominance in one field (CPUs, chipsets)
    > to artificially create a dominance in another field then it falls into
    > the definition of what antitrust legislation is intended to prevent.
    >
    > However, if they maintain McAfee as a separate product line or otherwise
    > avoid bundling, then I'd agree that it shouldn't be an issue at all.


    Business-wise, Intel is prevented from bundling in a way that excludes
    competitors. The customers for CPUs and AV software would be altogether
    different too. The customers for CPUs would be OEMs, such as HP, Acer,
    Dell, Lenovo, etc. Whereas the customers for AV would be end-users and
    corporations. So if Intel offered discounts on its CPUs to HP to get it
    to bundle McAfee AV with their systems, then that would be an
    anti-competitive act as HP isn't the one who will be using the AV, but
    HP's own customers. HP could've bundled Norton with its systems but
    because of the CPU discounts it bundled McAfee. Once the AV software
    gets to the end user, it has the advantage of incumbency and most people
    will just want to keep using what they already have. So McAfee would
    have to compete for customers on its own, against Symantec and others.

    Technologically, it's a completely different story. Intel has said that
    it's going to be able to offer some kind of hardware assistance to AV
    software. There are two ways to go about this, as far as I can see.

    First way is to put McAfee software on an embedded OS (usually a form of
    Linux) which can be put into motherboard flash. This would allow
    off-line virus scanning of Windows partitions, which will allow the AV
    software to be uncompromised by any virus infections itself. This would
    be a really useful thing, and quite a good idea. But to do this, it
    didn't need to buy McAfee, all it needed to do was partner with McAfee,
    or any other AV company. And of course AMD can offer exactly the same
    deal with buying the company either.

    Second way is to put instructions into the ISA that help virus scanning.
    I can't see them putting a whole virus scanner software into the
    processor itself, this would be silly. The software itself would easily
    become obsolete, and it really wouldn't be any faster than AV software
    coming off the disk, except in load times. However, it may be able to
    offer types of instructions that make reading and comparing a massive
    amount of strings easier. This type of instruction set would also be
    helpful with other string-comparison-dependent software like databases.
    As it so happens this is one of the areas of software which is expected
    to be aided greatly by the introduction of integrated GPUs, and OpenCL.
    Intel's own GPUs are not capable of helping out here at all. So AMD
    would have a massive lead on Intel in this case, when Fusion hits. So
    Intel would likely have to come up with something quick'n'dirty to
    counter this feature of AMD's integrated GPUs. Most AV companies which
    would support this would likely go through OpenCL or DirectCompute, and
    get instant benefits in AMD processors. With McAfee inside, they may be
    able to get earlier adoption for their own instruction set than they can
    get through the standards-based APIs.

    Yousuf Khan
     
    Yousuf Khan, Aug 23, 2010
    #14
  15. Intel Guy

    JW Guest

    On Sun, 22 Aug 2010 16:24:57 -0700 DevilsPGD
    <> wrote in Message id:
    <>:

    >Modern AV really relies heavily on definitions and heuristic analysis,
    >so a purely silicon solution likely won't be effective against modern
    >threats since threats can adapt around the silicon's limitations faster
    >than InteAfee could adapt their hardware.


    Buit with a reasonably large flash memory (maybe 128MB) attached to that
    silicon...
     
    JW, Aug 23, 2010
    #15
  16. Intel Guy

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message <-lp.com> Yousuf Khan
    <> was claimed to have wrote:

    >On 22/08/2010 7:24 PM, DevilsPGD wrote:
    >> In message<4c7166f2$-lp.com> Yousuf Khan
    >> <> was claimed to have wrote:
    >>
    >>> Totally different industries, won't affect anti-trust.

    >>
    >> I think it depends on the direction that Intel goes with this
    >> acquisition. If they use their dominance in one field (CPUs, chipsets)
    >> to artificially create a dominance in another field then it falls into
    >> the definition of what antitrust legislation is intended to prevent.
    >>
    >> However, if they maintain McAfee as a separate product line or otherwise
    >> avoid bundling, then I'd agree that it shouldn't be an issue at all.

    >
    >Business-wise, Intel is prevented from bundling in a way that excludes
    >competitors. The customers for CPUs and AV software would be altogether
    >different too. The customers for CPUs would be OEMs, such as HP, Acer,
    >Dell, Lenovo, etc. Whereas the customers for AV would be end-users and
    >corporations.


    Intel wouldn't be the first manufacturer to offer software directly to
    end users keyed to work off of certain hardware. CD/DVD burners have
    distributed Nero in this fashion for years.

    Intel's near monopoly in the CPU world would probably make it an
    antitrust target so I doubt they'd go this route but if they did, it
    would probably be very effective.

    >So if Intel offered discounts on its CPUs to HP to get it
    >to bundle McAfee AV with their systems, then that would be an
    >anti-competitive act as HP isn't the one who will be using the AV, but
    >HP's own customers.


    It depends on how things are structured... OEMs already get paid by AV
    vendors to install AV software, so continuing this tradition might not
    be antitrust.

    Tying it directly to CPU prices or purchases of specific CPUs might not
    be a smart move, but nor would it be directly necessary given the
    preexisting market.

    >First way is to put McAfee software on an embedded OS (usually a form of
    >Linux) which can be put into motherboard flash. This would allow
    >off-line virus scanning of Windows partitions, which will allow the AV
    >software to be uncompromised by any virus infections itself. This would
    >be a really useful thing, and quite a good idea. But to do this, it
    >didn't need to buy McAfee, all it needed to do was partner with McAfee,
    >or any other AV company. And of course AMD can offer exactly the same
    >deal with buying the company either.


    This is kinda pointless, it's borderline LiveCD territory anyway and
    building it into motherboards, chipsets or the CPU would just make it an
    attackable target.

    Absolutely not worth buying a AV company to go down this route and
    nothing in the solution would need any real tie-in.

    >Second way is to put instructions into the ISA that help virus scanning.
    >I can't see them putting a whole virus scanner software into the
    >processor itself, this would be silly. The software itself would easily
    >become obsolete, and it really wouldn't be any faster than AV software
    >coming off the disk, except in load times. However, it may be able to
    >offer types of instructions that make reading and comparing a massive
    >amount of strings easier. This type of instruction set would also be
    >helpful with other string-comparison-dependent software like databases.
    >As it so happens this is one of the areas of software which is expected
    >to be aided greatly by the introduction of integrated GPUs, and OpenCL.
    >Intel's own GPUs are not capable of helping out here at all.


    Maybe not today, but with Intel working on integrated GPUs, the
    integrated GPU might be an ideal workhorse especially if it's not
    actually providing GPU capabilities for the system at the time.

    Even more interesting might be monitoring code as it's executed,
    catching vulnerabilities in real time and potentially catching new
    threats that use encryption or polymorphic capabilities to evade classic
    heuristic analysis.

    Definitely has potential.

    >So AMD
    >would have a massive lead on Intel in this case, when Fusion hits. So
    >Intel would likely have to come up with something quick'n'dirty to
    >counter this feature of AMD's integrated GPUs. Most AV companies which
    >would support this would likely go through OpenCL or DirectCompute, and
    >get instant benefits in AMD processors. With McAfee inside, they may be
    >able to get earlier adoption for their own instruction set than they can
    >get through the standards-based APIs.


    AMD is definitely ahead on the hardware side, but Intel+McAfee might end
    up ahead on the software side, integrating talent directly without
    concern for licensing, no need to stay generic to avoid a permanent
    tie-in/co-dependency, and without NDAs sure helps the development
    process along.
     
    DevilsPGD, Aug 23, 2010
    #16
  17. Intel Guy

    Yousuf Khan Guest

    On 23/08/2010 11:32 AM, DevilsPGD wrote:
    > In message<-lp.com> Yousuf Khan
    >> Business-wise, Intel is prevented from bundling in a way that excludes
    >> competitors. The customers for CPUs and AV software would be altogether
    >> different too. The customers for CPUs would be OEMs, such as HP, Acer,
    >> Dell, Lenovo, etc. Whereas the customers for AV would be end-users and
    >> corporations.

    >
    > Intel wouldn't be the first manufacturer to offer software directly to
    > end users keyed to work off of certain hardware. CD/DVD burners have
    > distributed Nero in this fashion for years.


    That's not really what I'm talking about. Intel wouldn't be offering AV
    as way to sell CPUs, but it would be offering CPUs as way to sell AV, in
    this case.

    > Intel's near monopoly in the CPU world would probably make it an
    > antitrust target so I doubt they'd go this route but if they did, it
    > would probably be very effective.


    Which is why it'll not be allowed by the authorities.

    >> So if Intel offered discounts on its CPUs to HP to get it
    >> to bundle McAfee AV with their systems, then that would be an
    >> anti-competitive act as HP isn't the one who will be using the AV, but
    >> HP's own customers.

    >
    > It depends on how things are structured... OEMs already get paid by AV
    > vendors to install AV software, so continuing this tradition might not
    > be antitrust.
    >
    > Tying it directly to CPU prices or purchases of specific CPUs might not
    > be a smart move, but nor would it be directly necessary given the
    > preexisting market.


    Well, yes existing sales incentive models might suffice right now, but
    if Intel ever got the desire to gin up sales and/or marketshare for its
    McAfee division, then offering these additional incentives might enter
    its mind. They will have to leave its mind right away too.

    >> First way is to put McAfee software on an embedded OS (usually a form of
    >> Linux) which can be put into motherboard flash. This would allow
    >> off-line virus scanning of Windows partitions, which will allow the AV
    >> software to be uncompromised by any virus infections itself. This would
    >> be a really useful thing, and quite a good idea. But to do this, it
    >> didn't need to buy McAfee, all it needed to do was partner with McAfee,
    >> or any other AV company. And of course AMD can offer exactly the same
    >> deal with buying the company either.

    >
    > This is kinda pointless, it's borderline LiveCD territory anyway and
    > building it into motherboards, chipsets or the CPU would just make it an
    > attackable target.


    Well, motherboard flash is not easily writable, unlike SSDs or
    thumbdrives, this is more like ROM. And these mini-OS environments in
    flash are already being offered by various companies. You've seen those
    ones which allow you to surf the Internet, check email, watch DVDs, etc.
    without even booting into Windows? So including a virus scanner is no
    big deal. The mini-OS might allow Internet updating of virus definition
    files too, which would likely be stored temporarily in a ramdrive in memory.

    > Absolutely not worth buying a AV company to go down this route and
    > nothing in the solution would need any real tie-in.


    Exactly, so this is the most innocent of the solutions.

    >> Second way is to put instructions into the ISA that help virus scanning.
    >> I can't see them putting a whole virus scanner software into the
    >> processor itself, this would be silly. The software itself would easily
    >> become obsolete, and it really wouldn't be any faster than AV software
    >> coming off the disk, except in load times. However, it may be able to
    >> offer types of instructions that make reading and comparing a massive
    >> amount of strings easier. This type of instruction set would also be
    >> helpful with other string-comparison-dependent software like databases.
    >> As it so happens this is one of the areas of software which is expected
    >> to be aided greatly by the introduction of integrated GPUs, and OpenCL.
    >> Intel's own GPUs are not capable of helping out here at all.

    >
    > Maybe not today, but with Intel working on integrated GPUs, the
    > integrated GPU might be an ideal workhorse especially if it's not
    > actually providing GPU capabilities for the system at the time.


    Intel might offer this as part of their AVX instruction set, that
    supersedes SSE. AMD can also offer it, since they will be supporting AVX
    too, but AMD might offer it through a direct GPU tie-in. So Intel would
    need to offer something very similar in performance as soon as possible.

    > Even more interesting might be monitoring code as it's executed,
    > catching vulnerabilities in real time and potentially catching new
    > threats that use encryption or polymorphic capabilities to evade classic
    > heuristic analysis.
    >
    > Definitely has potential.


    That's basic hierarchal protected memory stuff. It's been around since
    at least the 80's, at least on x86. The only problem is getting OS
    vendors to start using it properly.

    >> So AMD
    >> would have a massive lead on Intel in this case, when Fusion hits. So
    >> Intel would likely have to come up with something quick'n'dirty to
    >> counter this feature of AMD's integrated GPUs. Most AV companies which
    >> would support this would likely go through OpenCL or DirectCompute, and
    >> get instant benefits in AMD processors. With McAfee inside, they may be
    >> able to get earlier adoption for their own instruction set than they can
    >> get through the standards-based APIs.

    >
    > AMD is definitely ahead on the hardware side, but Intel+McAfee might end
    > up ahead on the software side, integrating talent directly without
    > concern for licensing, no need to stay generic to avoid a permanent
    > tie-in/co-dependency, and without NDAs sure helps the development
    > process along.


    One of the agreements Intel signed with AMD and the FTC is that it will
    now no longer make software that supports only Intel's own chips. Or if
    they do, they must explicitly state that that's what they are doing. It
    applies to Intel's compilers, libraries, benchmarks, so it should apply
    to AV as well. Because of this Intel has now got to tell its compiler
    customers that it won't be optimized on non-Intel hardware (Intel used
    to say their compiler *did* optimize on non-Intel hardware), and also
    benchmarks which Intel surreptitiously helped develop like Sysmark &
    Mobilemark have to be stated to be optimized only for Intel hardware.

    Yousuf Khan
     
    Yousuf Khan, Aug 23, 2010
    #17
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