Android is the Number One Target for Malware Authors

Anand Prahlad, Managing Director India Operations, McAfee

Momentum within Cloud and Mobile
The public and the private clouds have gained momentum over the past few years and are becoming increasingly relevant. The virtual machines are being noticed in never-before seen numbers which are now being put to use. The Cloud equates to massive virtualization. There are methods being deployed to protect virtual machines which enable effective usage of the same. The other area of growth for McAfee is mobiles, especially with Android. Android is the number one target for malware authors and there are huge activities and the organization is prepared to tackle this area with upgraded solutions.

The third opportunity of embedded systems is important especially in the context of our partnership with Intel. Android also plays in the embedded market.

With regards to the threats faced, there are increasingly sophisticated and organized attacks like Skywalker and Flame which are capable of well orchestrated attacks on massive industrial systems. The attacks are getting cleverer, exploiting vulnerabilities and keeping themselves hidden from anti-malware systems. The goal of hackers is not to cause damage but to steal sensitive data. The entities could be stealing bits and pieces of an organization for a very long period of time, without being detected. By the time the threat is detected, a lot of information is lost.

Overcoming Exploitation of Zero-Day Vulnerability
Malwares exploit zero-day vulnerability, breaching a system using a method that was previously unknown. By definition they are new, so as to disable existing signatures. Application White listing is the weapon used to tackle such threats, which is a practical method to protect certain kinds of systems, but cannot be applied to all systems.

The other counter defense technique is by using Intel’s ability to give a vantage point in the computer stack. McAfee is essentially outside the home reacting to who is trying to get in. It is a very interesting approach and we released a product earlier this year called ‘Deep Defender’, which uses this technology from Intel for specifically targeting against root kits.

Indian Talent is Formidable
India is McAfee’s largest site in the world. More than 40 percent of the R&D team is in India and is strategically very important to the global operations. All of the data center products and many management platforms like EPO, McAfee Agent are driven out of the India centre. Intrusion Prevention and Network Business Units have got a very large team engaged in IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) work. 350 employees are engaged with creating a great deal of innovation. The largest McAfee labs contingent and a lot of lab researchers’ work is done out of the Indian centre. The level of trust is high and the retention of senior engineers and executives who have developed their careers is a testimony to this fact.

The amount of engineering talent originating out from India is extremely large. Even if some of the talent is discounted as unusable, the top 10 percent forms a huge formidable number. It is very difficult in any other geographical location to get readymade talents which are easily and readily deployable for projects. Easy access to a very good level of aptitude is what McAfee has seen in India. The company constantly strives to drive the innovation bar higher in terms of talent acquisition to ensure that the overall pedigree in the site is of a certain high class. There are programs deployed internally to bring forth new ideas and develop the same into successful offerings.

Secondly, there is a lot of headroom to grow with regards to the potential to sell in India from a software market perspective. McAfee is in a unique position to do the same and this can be attributed to almost every product finding a representation in the Indian market. The hard working engineering leaders, product managers and executives are capable of talking knowledgeably about the product line to potential customers. The customers feel the proximity of the engineering team to themselves will help get better support and attention, which McAfee has been accomplishing sincerely.