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Crimeware Protection White Paper

Intel® Core™ vPro™ processors

Managing the New Threats in IT

IT’s Evolving Security Challenges

Unlike yesteryear’s amateur virus-producing hackers, who created widespread threats, today’s cyber-criminals instigate much more specific attacks. Their products are much more insidious, harder to detect, and more difficult to remediate, with specific targets and results in mind, such as corporate espionage, undermining operations, exposing secret data, hactivism, and more.

Criminals are using stealth techniques to deliver their crimeware, allowing it to find targets and dig in below the operating system (OS). The codes lie in wait out of sight and out of reach of the OS until the opportune time to attack, reproduce themselves in ways to make it harder to detect and remove them, steal identities, or more.

The malware pathology of Stuxnet and the toolkit provided by Zeus illustrate just how sophisticated these criminals are and how easy it is to create hidden, costly bugs. These are the types of new threats to IT security. And, according to security experts at McAfee, enterprises can expect these types of attacks to happen more often.1

The Complications of Evolving Business

Modern threats take advantage of every interaction your users have with your data, devices, and applications; evolving business operating models expand their opportunities.

New service deliveries, including virtual desktops and cloud-based services, add to the challenges of ensuring an infrastructure is protected against sophisticated threats. Each of the communications channels – web-based applications, identity and access to enterprise networks and confidential accounts, and e-mail – present vectors through which threats from data loss, identity theft, and invasion are possible.

Complicating security issues further is the expanding range of mobile devices that must be corralled within a secure perimeter. Besides the ubiquitous laptop, more mobile devices are mainstream, including smartphones and tablets, offering more vectors for crimeware to invade. IT has to protect them all. Not just from malware attacks, but also mitigating and remedying plain old “grab and run” theft.

Protective Strategies

Protecting against attacks requires a solid strategy across all fronts against which they might come. These include the following:

Threat Management – Not just identifying and stopping detectable insidious codes using virus detection and removal software, but protecting the vulnerabilities where they are finding entrances, especially below and beyond the operating systems.

Identity and Access – Ensuring users are who they say and not a malware imposter using a stolen identity.

Data Loss Prevention – Protecting against the damages from data and device theft and providing the highest level of encryption to prevent breaking through today’s strong encryption methods.

Monitoring, Reporting, and Remediation – Preventing and mitigating threats through knowing and plugging vulnerabilities before the malware finds them, and reducing the costs and challenges of preventing and recovering from an attack.

Security Below and Beyond the OS

The reality of today’s crimeware is that very smart software is able to find vulnerabilities and invade where it’s hard for virus detection tools to reach and remove them. To outsmart these codes requires hardware-based solutions that complement – and even assist – sophisticated virus detection and security software that work below and beyond the OS, detecting and stopping threats as they try to take advantage of a vulnerability (Figure 1).

Business Clients with Built-in Security

Business clients based on Intel Core vPro processors integrate built-in security technologies in the processor silicon, the platform hardware, and the firmware – below the operating system. Intel® technologies work along the fronts of threat management, identity and access, data loss prevention, and monitoring, reporting, and remediation. Intel technologies and built-in tools detect software-based threats, bypass and prevent identity theft before it happens, strengthen strong encryption, and thwart the costs of physical theft – even helping recover lost laptops.

With these technologies, business clients help IT management prevent the attacks from today’s sophisticated, stealthy crimeware, while reducing the costs of prevention and remediation.

How is this possible? What are the Intel technologies that help IT ward off today’s sophisticated threats?


Product and Performance Information


1. “2012 Threats Predictions” Report by McAfee Labs; http://www.mcafee.com/us/resources/reports/rp-threat-predictions-2012.pdf