If you were to judge from only newspaper and television reports, the mere act of starting a browser might petrify you with fear. We are bombarded daily with warnings about various computer crimes such as hacking, phishing, identity theft, and stolen laptops. The risks are real, and there are talented bad guys out there; however, there are some very skilled good guys, too. Intel hardware and software engineers are working hard, along with industry partners, to provide consumers with innovative protection schemes.
Intel and McAfee engineers have developed a new level of security that helps keep users’ personal information personal. Features built into the silicon, coupled with software and services, better protect the things users care about most— protecting identities, data, and devices for a more worry-free computing experience and greater peace of mind right from the start. One feature turns stolen 3rd generation Intel® Core™ processor-enabled laptops and Ultrabook™ devices into virtual “bricks” so a thief cannot boot successfully. This laptop-disabling feature (Intel® Anti-Theft Technology) may not deter every thief, but it should reduce personal data loss for the victim. Software solutions that take better advantage of powerful multi-core technology can protect systems from common hacks and intellectual property (IP) theft.
No company can promise to eliminate all threats and thefts; however, Intel’s PC services team of engineers along with their software partners are making great strides toward delivering advanced security features to help consumers protect their privacy today. Now is a good time to take a look at some of the advances Intel and McAfee offer for laptop security:
- Intel® Insider™ Technology
- Intel® Anti-Theft Technology (Intel® AT)
- Intel® Identity Protection Technology (Intel® IPT)
- McAfee All Access*
Intel® Insider™ Technology: End-to-end Content Protection
Consumers now have a variety of ways to watch TV and movies, from standard cable and satellite dishes to free and subscription services such as NetFlix*, Hulu*, Amazon*, Crackle*, and others. As more content is available through these services, and increasingly offered in full 1080p high-definition, the content owners are especially worried about the security of their most valuable assets. PCs are a particularly scary realm in which to drop content, and the movie studios have reacted by limiting the amount of HD content that you can view on the PC. To address these concerns, Intel has worked closely with several prominent studios to develop Intel Insider technology. Thanks to this hardware-based security, the PC is now one of the best devices for enjoying the latest HD movies.
According to Chris Cukor, marketing director for Intel Insider technology, “DVD sales have been declining because new business models have made content more disposable. It began with Netflix when you could rent and return your disk in the mail. Today you download or stream a file from Netflix, Amazon, or iTunes*, watch it, and it disappears. While these services are available across a growing number of devices, the quality of the content and the user experience are often device specific. Intel Insider technology enables online movie services to offer the highest definition content and to deliver a great user experience to devices with Intel® processors. Intel Insider is available to movie distributors so they can encode, encrypt, and transmit their licensed content to consumers in a secure fashion. The technology is transparent to the end user so all they see are their favorite movies or TV shows in stunning 1080p.”
For a content distributor such as Best Buy CinemaNow, the Intel Insider program is a green light to license high-definition content from studios for the PC. Certain movie studios simply won’t license high-end content to the PC unless the distributor is using Intel Insider because they’re concerned that other content-protection services don’t provide deep enough security for their most valuable assets.
Interestingly, most piracy today is done before a movie even hits the theater, according to Cukor. “We see most IP theft in the movie business happening early in the production process. During the final edits and cuts of the film, disks and files are sent to producers, agents, reviewers, and publicity houses, and that’s where this content often leaks out,” he said. Intel Insider technology could provide value in this situation. The copies could be tagged to play on specific devices, protected with Intel Insider, and could not be copied, burned, or otherwise distributed outside of an authorized list of users.
It’s true that most consumers don’t really care about Hollywood losing a little money. What they do care about is that when they buy new technology, they expect to be able to access their content, whether it’s what they developed, such as personal movies and pictures, or what they subscribe to through services such as Netflix. “Users want a good experience,” Cukor said, “whether it’s on a TV, laptop, tablet, cell phone, or Ultrabook device.” For example, his team made sure that Intel Insider technology works nicely with the wireless display technology in the Ultrabook. “You can actually beam the content from your laptop to the TV, and we maintain the secure protection. You can have a movie playing on your TV with a laptop beside you. Many consumers are engaging in multi-screen experiences, for example, adding a social media feed. It gives them new experiences while enjoying online content.”
Cukor stated that the strategy and vision is to take the Intel Insider technology across the compute continuum. Every PC shipped in the last 16 months with 2nd and 3rd generation Intel Core processors has Intel Insider technology to provide plenty of room for growth. “We want all the devices you carry to be interconnected,” Cukor said. “If I stop viewing on one device, I want to be able to continue watching on another device that I own. We want to enable our customers to deliver seamless, cross-device viewing experiences that delight audiences every step of the way.”
Intel® Anti-Theft Technology
According to a recent study from the Ponemon Institute, the total cost of replacing a lost business laptop or PC, and recovering from potential data losses, security breaches, and other calamities can average about USD 49,2461.1 Replacing the hardware isn’t the issue—it’s coping with the consequences of stolen data that can cost so much. This same study also found that every 49.3 seconds, a laptop is lost or stolen in an airport.
Rick Kapur, director of marketing for Intel AT indicated that Intel AT is available with all 3rd gen Intel Core processor-enabled Ultrabook devices. Also, each Ultrabook will include a software service trial so that a consumer can activate an anti-theft solution out-ofthe- box. “According to reports, 12,000 laptops are stolen or lost each week in U.S. airports.2 People are storing more sensitive data on PCs, and as the devices become smaller, they’re more easily stolen. Intel AT helps to address the problem of laptops walking away with sensitive data, said Kapur.”
Intel AT is a hardware-based technology that allows ISVs to develop powerful anti-theft software services reaching into the hardware level. For example, these services can help secure personal information stored on the device’s hard drive by completely disabling the laptop. If a laptop is enabled with Intel AT and the consumer activates one of these services, they can remotely disable the laptop if it is lost or stolen. When the thief subsequently connects this laptop to the Internet, the software service enables a hardware lock to render the device unusable. The hardware cannot be unlocked by the thief.
With the Intel AT-enabled service, customers can enable pre-set timers where the laptop is instructed to “phone home” on a regular basis. The hardware notes if a certain time has passed without a successful handshake, and, if so, the system automatically disables itself. The time interval can be set as aggressively as daily. If the laptop is recovered, the user can enter a password and return the laptop to normal operation.
Some consumers place the Intel AT sticker on the back of their laptops to signal to others that their laptop is protected.
“We did a test at select airports,” Kapur said, “where we left out a laptop with a sticker, and another without a sticker. The laptop without the sticker was stolen two to three times more often.”
The more times a thief discovers that stealing AT-enabled devices doesn’t pay, the better the program will help deter theft. “These new 3rd gen Intel Core processor-enabled Ultrabook devices are sleek, lightweight, and highly desirable, and we want to help consumers protect their investment,” Kapur said.
Security features are always advancing, taking advantage of new sensor technologies, for example. Some software developers are now capable of adding a location finder with a GPS signal that consumers can give to law enforcement for faster recovery. When devices can protect themselves and call law enforcement for help, that’s a powerful combination.
Intel® Identity Protection Technology
To help address online fraud, all Ultrabook devices ship with Intel IPT, enabling a more secure and convenient way to interact with participating web sites. The goal is to create more secure experiences for devices accessing the cloud.
Jennifer Gilburg is the director of marketing for Intel IPT. “The problem we’re addressing is that the old standby, username and password, is not really security,” she explained. “It has outlived its usefulness. All of the popular social media, online gaming, and Webmail sites suffer from account takeover issues to the point where most people either know someone who’s been hit, or have had their own accounts hijacked.” Once “in,” the fraudsters use these accounts to peddle counterfeit pharmaceuticals, distribute malware in the form of video downloads, or trick people into sending money to fraudulent accounts.
An example of this last type of fraud, according to Gilburg, is the Nigerian 419 scam: “Victims get a random e-mail from a hijacked account that says the fraudster is stranded far away and is held up at gunpoint or some similar drama. It then asks the recipient to immediately wire some cash from Western Union. Of course the money is lost to the hands of the fraudster.”
Even online gaming has seen criminal activity related to identity theft, Gilburg said. “There’s big revenue where accounts get taken and ‘weapons’ are sold on the black market. It transcends all online account types; username and password are simply too easy to key-log and guess.”
Gilburg says there’s help on the way, but with a caveat. “We owe consumers something better than username and password security, but businesses don’t want friction that might cause you to abandon the Internet or not log on. Facebook* wants you to see their ads. Amazon wants you online and making purchases.”
This is the kind of technology that adds value to the platform by protecting consumer accounts. And major sites are signing up, such as eBay and PayPal*, which are part of Symantec’s VIP network that supports IPT. “We’re calling out to industry to be leaders with us in security and protecting the consumer,” said Gilburg.
McAfee All Access*
One of the key ingredients in protecting consumers from cyber threats is the passion to “fight the good fight” every day. Gary Davis, director of worldwide consumer product marketing for McAfee, has been very vocal in the media to ensure that consumers understand the changing landscape in security. Further, he wants to help those consumers make better decisions.
“You can’t do this work and not be passionate about it,” Davis says, “because you are driving for the common good. We wake up every day knowing that if we can come up with another signature or another means to stop a threat from manifesting itself, it is a good day at McAfee. And people should know that we have a lot of good days.”
Bruce Snell, director of technical marketing at McAfee, echoes that sentiment. “A massive outbreak occurred recently that involved a Trojan targeting Macs*,” he related. “Early in that investigation process, we found that our Mac antivirus software was already protecting against that particular piece of malware. It makes us feel good when we see a major outbreak and find that we had it covered before it could do any damage to our customers’ machines.”
The threat isn’t just constant—it’s expanding. “We are not looking at only computers anymore,” said Snell. “Everything is more connected. We now have to think about protection for medical equipment, cars, and the power infrastructure…all of these areas that could have serious real-world impacts if they were hacked. Imagine what problems might occur if a power grid is shut down that causes a hospital to lose power in the middle of a surgery. It is a daunting task. When you think about the number of malware signatures, for example, there are about 75 million right now, and that is just on PCs. It is growing exponentially on Android* and other mobile platforms. I don’t think there are enough fingers to plug every hole, but we are doing our level best.”
One step toward an over-arching umbrella of protection is McAfee All Access, which helps protect the end user’s identity by instantly detecting and blocking viruses, stopping threats to the Web and e-mail, and freezing out hackers. The two-way firewall, encrypted digital vault, and wireless-network defense helps safeguard personal data to deter even the most determined thieves.
With McAfee All Access, a smartphone enjoys the same level of protection as a PC, so the smartphone can be safely used to surf, shop, bank, e-mail, and socialize online. This comprehensive protection is always on, helping to secure every facet of your digital life, whether you’re using a computer, laptop, netbook, Ultrabook device, smartphone, or tablet.
The following features mean that hackers, virus creators, scammers, cyber bullies, and identity thieves will have to work much, much harder:
- Complete antivirus, anti-spyware, and anti-phishing. Scans and cleans malicious code from inbound and outbound e-mails, text messages, attachments, and files.
- Safe searching and shopping. Protects against Web threats by blocking risky links within SMS, e-mail, and social networking sites.
- Mobile lock. Locks all data, including the data on the memory (SIM) card, and displays a “contact me” message on the device.
- Remote data wipe. Protects your privacy by remotely deleting all data, including the data on your removable memory card.
- Backup and restore data. Preserves personal information on demand, then restores your information to a new device.
- Locate and track. Enables you to view your lost device’s position on a map and sound a remote alarm. • Uninstall protection. Prevents the removal of software to bypass the protection.
“The intent of All Access,” according to Davis, “is to ultimately be that single security product that protects all of your devices. Right now it is very much focused on smartphones, tablets, PCs, and Macs, but as the range of devices grows we’ll make sure that we are offering complete protection across the board.”
The battle continues every day, but McAfee is definitely up to the challenge. Davis and Snell carry a bit of a super-hero ethic to their work, fighting for truth and justice daily. They live, think, and breathe security issues, and they have learned that to stay ahead of their opponents, they have to adopt some of the same thought processes.
Snell admits it can cause problems on the home front. “I can now connect to my home Wi-Fi* network via my iPad*or my iPhone*, and I’ve pranked my wife by turning the TV off from my office.” All in the name of research, of course.
“We must understand the mindset of a hacker to succeed in this cat-and-mouse game,” says Snell. “We must have their same thoughts, but ultimately, what we do is for the greater good.”
With features built into silicon, Intel® security technologies, coupled with software and services, offer more protection than ever before for data, devices, and identity. Together, these technologies will enable a more fuller device and online experience.
Meanwhile, everyone can benefit by remembering these simple steps that frustrate cyber criminals:
- Activate the security offerings that enable these new Intel® technologies on your new devices. • Practice safe computing by regularly backing up data.
- Never click a link that seems questionable.
- Install an antivirus and anti-malware program and download the updates.
- Regularly update the operating system.
Between safe computing and Intel technologies that are evolving faster than the bad guys care to admit, we can all achieve a little more peace of mind. To learn more, go to http://Antitheft.Intel.com
The Billion Dollar Lost Laptop Problem
According to an earlier Ponemon Institute study (conducted independently and sponsored by Intel), “The Cost of a Lost Laptop,” the average value of a lost laptop exceeds USD 49,000. This value is based on seven cost components: replacement cost (the smallest component), detection, forensics, data breach, lost intellectual property costs, lost productivity and legal consulting, and regulatory expenses.
According to the report:
- The total economic impact for 329 participating companies is USD 2.1 billion.
- Out of the 263 laptops per organization that were lost or went missing, on average just 12 laptops were recovered.
- Forty-three percent of laptops were lost off-site, 33 percent were lost in transit or travel, and 12 percent were lost in the workplace.
- Although 46 percent of lost or stolen systems contained confidential data, only 30 percent of laptops lost had disk encryption, 29 percent had backup, and just 10 percent had other anti-theft features.
- Education and research industries experienced the highest rate of laptop loss.
- Laptops with the most sensitive and confidential data are the most likely to be stolen. However, these laptops were also more likely to have disk encryption.
- Based on these results, across its useful life, a laptop has a 7.12 percent chance of being stolen.
To protect your organization’s data integrity:
- Full disk encryption prevents unauthorized access to data storage. Though the decision of which individual files to encrypt is not left to the end users’ discretion, they often choose to disable the feature, probably because they incorrectly assume full disk encryption significantly slows down processing speed.
- Intel® Anti-Theft Technology (Intel® AT) helps deter data and asset theft, keeping personal information personal.
Keeping sensitive material off your laptop by storing data in the cloud is not a viable solution. Such data is easily accessible by simply cracking the logon credentials. Worse, the existence of a full backup actually increases the cost of a lost laptop, because backups make it easier to confirm the loss of confidential data, resulting in greater expense from recovery efforts.
Read more from, “The Billion Dollar Lost Laptop Problem” at: www.intelligenceinsoftware.com/feature/it_software_ strategy/lost_laptop/index.html#ixzz1p2eGggJm
About the Author
Garret Romaine is a senior writer, working for RH+M3 from Hillsboro, Oregon. Garret started in gaming as a beta tester for Epic Megagames and has been a columnist, editor, and reviewer ever since. Garret is a Fellow in the Society for Technical Communication, and he teaches technical communication at Portland State University.
Disclaimer: No system can provide absolute security under all conditions. Full protection requires an enabled chipset, BIOS, firmware, and software, and a subscription with a capable service provider. Consult your system manufacturer and service provider for availability and functionality. Intel assumes no liability for lost or stolen data and/or systems or any other damages resulting thereof. For more information, visit www.intel.com/go/anti-theft.