Ars Technica has weighed in on their understanding of why it is that Intel made the surprise purchase of McAfee and it all boils down to Intel CTO Justin Rattner’s new focus on security. Intel has a blend of products that goes by the name of vPro which are designed specifically to provide security at a level below the OS. It resembles its predecessor, TPM or Palladium, and consists of a Core 2 or more modern processor, a motherboard with enough onboard features that no daughter cards need to be added to the system and several necessary features including Intel Active Management Technology(AMT) and Intel Trusted Execution Technology (Intel TXT). Together these ensure a PC or laptop is fairly well protected against rootkits and more importantly is able to make a secure connection to another PC so that, in a business environment, remote management, updates and security statuses can be communicated without risk of infection. Ars feels that the purchase of McAfee is likely to bring these types of security to the home user in the future and that there is no need to speculate about a competition with ARM for embedded security in mobile devices.
"There’s been quite a bit of head-scratching over Intel’s decision to purchase McAfee, but, despite all the breathless talk about mobile security and ARM and virus-fighting processors, the chipmaker’s motivations for the purchase are actually fairly straightforward. First, Intel’s management has decided, in the wake of Operation Aurora, to move security up to the top of Intel’s priority list. Second, secure systems require a lot more than just hardware support—security is about the whole stack, plus the network, plus policies and practices. Third, Intel has waited for ages for its ecosystem partners to come up with ways to give consumers access to vPro’s security benefits, and little has really panned out so now they’re just going to take vPro (and any newer security technologies) directly to consumers via McAfee."
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