A few days ago Intel announced its intention to buy and take over McAfee. With this announcement, hopes grew in the computing community that in the near future we will see intel technology with security built-in.
As you may know from reading my blog I am a fond believer in functional technology with safety and security built-in. Technology should be functional and secure, preferrably without deteriorating ease of use.
Secure from within…
I wonder if we ever will see CPU’s with anti-malware built-in. To be honest, I doubt that will happen on desktops. What I do envision is the birth of special purpose intel chipsets or CPUs that will be used in security appliances, network gear and the like. This would enable manufacturers of these products to deliver security as a part of their product.
… why not?
So why would this not appear on desktops? Simply put: Point of Entrance. What are the vectors of approach for any given malware to enter your system? It will always be from an external source, be it an external physical medium such as CD, usb-stick or a connected medium such as a website, e-mail, chat-message, social media site, tweet…
In those cases, it is best to stop the threat at the gateway i.e. your internet router or internet facing firewall. So in the future these devices will contain CPUs with McAfee technology built-in. On the desktop, if you need your CPU’s technology to mitigate malware, it is way too late. Workstation CPU’s churning away cycles detecting malware are wasting precious resources.
So is this a good thing?
Yes! Most definitely. It will allow us to build a network with security built-in from the start. Security is no longer addon, but (literally) baked in the products that make up your network. I like Bruce Schneiers take on it. His take (paraphrased): If we buy a car we expect it to function and have some security and safety features built-in, such as brakes, air bags, torque control systems and the like. We take it for granted.
In my view, with the acquisition of McAfee by Intel, a small step is taken into creating computer eco-systems where we can have the same feeling as with a new car or a new kitchen appliance: functional with security & safety measures built-in. Ready to use. We might be able to put useability front and center again, and concentrate on useful applications first, since we can rely on the built-in security.
I wholeheartedly applaud that.