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Intel demos DeepSafe hardware-aided security technology

Intel shows off the fruits of its acquisition of McAfee with new security technology that uses features in the processor.


Intel demonstrated technology today that is designed to provide greater protection for computers from malware and other threats by taking advantage of features built into the processor.

Intel today showed off McAfee DeepSafe at the Intel Developer Forum, providing the first official glimpse into how the company plans to integrate the technology and expertise it got from the $7.68 billion acquisition of McAfee it announced last year and completed earlier this year.

The technology sits below the operating system level and allows McAfee to develop what Intel calls "hardware-assisted" security products. The aim is to easily detect and block attacks, including stealthy advanced persistent threats, which can make their way past traditional antivirus and other security software and which often have rootkits that are embedded into the operating system.

For example, McAfee researchers have been able to stop a previously unknown rootkit called Agony from infecting a system in real time, Intel said.

"Security threats are moving down (into the computer system) to the point where they create a malicious program that users click on, but it's also infecting the operating system, the virtualization layer, and even software layers below that," Vimal Solanki, senior vice president of corporate strategy at Intel, told CNET.

"When you operate below the operating system level you get a unique advantage point," he said. "You can monitor how the operating system is behaving and if there are any threats attempting to infect the OS itself."

Solanki said he could not provide further technical details at this time, but said products employing the DeepSafe technology are expected later this year.