Folks in California are so used to earthquakes that sometimes they barely notice when one happens. Folks in the security business are so busy and swamped with the noise of the market that we often miss tectonic shifts in our own world. Let me help you with that last one:
BREAKING NEWS: “Endpoint Security Earthquake Hits: McAfee Actively Endorses Application Whitelisting. Magnitude & Ramifications Are Significant.”
This week, McAfee, one of the two dominant forces in reactive, blacklist-based endpoint security, actively and unequivocally endorsed Application Whitelisting. Ironically, in hard coverage of Symantec’s recent problems with pcAnywhere, the industry is actively recommending application whitelisting too.
First, let’s cover the major quake: McAfee’s active endorsement of application whitelisting—for corporate desktops and laptops. In a series of videos on the popular video sharing site, YouTube, McAfee joins CoreTrace in educating the market about the shortcomings of traditional blacklist-based solutions, the advantages of application whitelisting, and McAfee Application Control’s purported advantages (most of which are unique compared to other whitelisting solutions but are not unique compared to CoreTrace (e.g., trusted change and memory protection)). You can view the initial video here here . While you are at YouTube, make sure to check out CoreTrace’s video channel too.
While CoreTrace has successfully competed with our friends from McAfee on application whitelisting projects on fixed function systems (e.g., critical infrastructure, POS terminals, servers), the antivirus giant has never publically announced that whitelisting can and should be used on corporate desktops and laptops—until now. In the introductory video, McAfee senior product manager Swaroop Sayeram directly states: “Simplistic whitelisting might fit just fixed function systems… Dynamic whitelisting is a great fit for servers… and it is now a good fit for corporate desktops as well. These days, most of the deals we are seeing are to secure servers and corporate desktops.”
Second, let’s cover the story of the related tremors: The industry’s recommendations to utilize application whitelisting to solve problems like those created by Symantec’s pcAnywhere code theft. While Symantec’s own advisory to pcAnywhere users only includes its boilerplate old-school recommendations, experts throughout the industry are recommending whitelisting as one of the main solutions. As an example, as a part of his recommendations in a FoxNews.com interview , Anup Ghosh, founder and CEO of Virginian security firm Invincea, told FoxNews.com “Businesses should deploy application ‘whitelisting.’ This will prevent unauthorized malware from running on computers.”
So, McAfee has dramatically shifted the endpoint anti-malware landscape. Now the question is, with the ground shifting beneath its feed, what will Symantec do? Stay tuned for future coverage of this developing story…