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Intel & Symantec To Jointly Launch 'Firmware' Security

Intel Corporation and Symantec Corporation are working together to introduce a firmware-based security computer in 2007 that would stop hackers from disabling anti-virus software. The 'Virtual Security Solution' will be able to function from the operating system of a computer with 'vPro business package' from Intel. Such a computer could be beneficial in reducing malware attacks that easily occur due to inadequate security protections on the victim's PC, said Lea Cohen, Symantec's Vice-President for security technology group.

Hackers tend to disable or mis-configure security safeguards. So Symantec will use the method of alienating security from the user and operator environment. The issues of concern are how to prevent security solutions from being tampered. Symantec is working with the Intel to place security in hardware, in firmware. In the all-time view of security experts, the chief cause of vulnerability in a PC is its user and not a weak firewall or anti-virus software. Malcolm Harkins of Intel believes that such security measures are of no use till they are properly used in spite of the advancement in security tools.

The HP scandal is an example that proves that it is not difficult for attackers to deploy social engineering methods to violate security limits. Such techniques include collecting private telephone details of legitimate holders and assigning a tracking tool to an e-mail having false news and sending it to the computer of a reporter.

By using networked controls to install patches on their computers, companies can successfully protect 95% of the computers from viruses. However, the remaining 5% are still unpatched and the companies can't depend on its employees to patch their PCs. Use of an anti-virus software, a desktop firewall, a data encryption process or weekly hard drive scans could slow down a system, the end users are likely to turn them off.

People say that with extranets and mobile computing, the boundaries are disappearing. But it is not disappearing, it is just shifting on the people, says Malcolm Harkins. If people become careless and forget to update their anti-virus, the thing would get them every time.

Firmware,Anti-Virus Software,Hackers

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