McAfee sets sandbox appliance to explode stealthy malware

Sandboxing appliance, integrated with McAfee Real Time for remediation, seeks to trump competitor FireEye

Las Vegas -- McAfee today unveiled a security appliance it calls McAfee Advanced Threat Defense which uses sandboxing technology to open incoming files to safely "explode" them to see if they contain stealthy malware.

The appliance – rolled out at the company’s annual Focus user conference here --  is based on technology gained in McAfee’s acquisition of LynuxWorks earlier this year.

McAfee has developed it further by adding a way to send information about any malware that is analyzed to endpoint devices running a variety of McAfee endpoint protection suites. The idea is to allow immediate prevention or clean-up if an infection. McAfee calls this fast remediation capability McAfee Real Time, and it works with McAfee products but not those from other vendors.

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The McAfee Real Time capability is meant to deliver current system state information to enhance situational awareness and streamline incident response. McAfee says the strategy is to find the threat, prevent it from infecting any additional devices and remediate any infected devices. The McAfee Advanced Threat Defense appliance would typically sit at the edge of the enterprise network near the firewall. McAfee hopes this approach to integrating sandboxing with endpoint remediation will distinguish it from competitors in sandboxing, such as FireEye.

In what it calls its “Security Connected Framework,”  McAfee Real Time is also being integrated into McAfee’s security and event information management (SIEM) product, Enterprise Security Manager (ESM). That way, the SIEM will receive insights from endpoints about security issues. McAfee says as an “endpoint aware” SIEM, ESM will let organizations proactively query, collect and analyze in real time information related to security and configuration of McAfee-based endpoints.

McAfee says the evolution of its core products in this way is intended to better combat “advanced malware” that is often simply a stealthy attack that sometimes lies quiet but then acts to penetrate a company for purposes of espionage or data theft. “Advanced malware is a difficult problem facing organizations of all sizes,” Pat Calhoun, general manager of network security at McAfee said. Detection has to be followed by stopping further infections and cleaning them up.

McAfee Advanced Threat Defense, the McAfee Real Time capability and McAfee ESM with McAfee Real Time are all expected to be available by year end.  

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: emessmer@nww.com

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