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Intel boosting cyber security division to better cope with x86 IoT revolution

Intel Security (a wholly owned subsidiary of intel) has been making big moves in recent years, and its parent company's x86 chips have made their way into millions of x86 IoT-ready devices; from trains and automated cars to critical infrastructure like energy and water. With this substantial target on their heads, cyber security has been an increasingly vital undertaking; with many constantly advocating for more spending in cyber security R&D and better collaboration for intelligence sharing. Given the sheer amount of interconnected devices in our life, and x86 network appliances which serve as the backbone for service providers to connect them all, cyber security has quite literally become our most important battleground in this age of nation sponsored hacks/malware and steadily increasing global cybercrime.

Recent Intel Security partnership makes them one of the largest players in cyber security.

“To enable this partnership, we are creating a new corporate entity, to be named McAfee, of which Intel will continue to own 49% and TPG, a leading global alternative asset firm with substantial experience investing in best-in-class technology companies, will own 51%. ” - Christopher Young, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Intel Security Group

TPG is the leading global investment firm with over $70B under their management, and is now holding a controlling stake in their new joint venture - Mcafee. This puts them in quite the position within the highly competitive industry- now having access to near-limitless resources in their quest for next-generation cyber security.

This is a huge development and also serves to squashes the rumor that Intel was moving its security offerings away from the McAfee name. They in fact went the exact opposite way, deciding to double-down on the well-known brand.
This comes as no surprise to many security professionals and even the man himself, John Mcafee. John being infamous in the cyber security field for his expertise not to mention public -and often humourous- rants,. He made his opinions clear on the value of his name in a letter to Intel shortly after they had announced their desire to distance themselves from the brand. It appears he was right in the end and intel found it impossible to separate the now ingrained brand from their security solutions.

Lanner FW-8894 x86 rackmount network appliance for leaf-spine architectures in large telecomm networks

Intel's offerings have long been a key player in our critical communications infrastructure(taking forms like the one above), and in applications like automation in factories, on the internet side of this as the workhorse for companies the likes of Google, Amazon, Verizon , AT&T  and of course in cyber security(both industrial and enterprise). But recent headlines also demonstrate Intel's targeted efforts towards emerging markets.

Expanding critical infrastructure
With the advent of driverless vehicles, concerns raised over recent vehicle-related hacks threaten the budding industry, and this is what has no doubt had a big hand in persuading large investment firms, like TPG, of the unrelenting demand for better cyber security. While Intel isn't the only silicone giant with x86 offerings, its architecture is miles ahead of the nearest competition; and paired with industry-leading lithography techniquesm it's easy to see them maintaining their dominance with given their comparatively small transistor sizes and subsequent efficiency gains.

X86 cyber security hardware(shown below) has been in critical infrastructure for years now, with roles ranging from access control, video surveillance, firewall, automation and analytics appliances; protecting components like the PLCs(programmable logic controller) that monitor and control nuclear reactors, water valves, gas lines and power lines. Given its use in such critical roles for society, it's a logical choice for many automobile manufacturers looking to protect their customers and brand in this IoT world.

x86 makes its place in automotive industry
Like with many other industries, vehicle manufacturers are no exception in that they find themselves struggling to integrate modern security systems with existing hardware. cars these days include a myriad of custom silicone, processors and real-time operating systems that must be secured. All this complexity introduces more potential for vulnerabilities, as cars these years easily contain 10’s of millions of lines of code to run and interface all these components.

History has painfully taught us time and time again that there's no such thing as a 100% secure system, and automobile manufacturers can now be burdened with the arduous task of maintaining and issuing security patches to cars for the duration of their products existence. Such a daunting task would make anyone look for outside help, for an example look no farther than the recent agreement between  BMW, Intel and mobile Eye.

While arm continues to dominate in the mobile, low-powered world; automated vehicles require not only rock solid security, but impressive raw processing power. This is because the hardware needs to be capable of taking in all the data from the countless sensors and then seamlessly analyze it in real-time. These requirements are in retrospect very similar to existing technology used in smart factories; for example the ultra-high definition cameras feeding masive data to their intelligent machine vision systems.

Companies like google have shown that the technology is already viable. The only thing keeping it from leaking to consumers is the nightmare-inducing prospect of a 1ton+ network-controlled vehicle. Just imagine you're riding in what is basically a glorified life-sized RC-car, when suddenly a opportunistic criminal decides take your car for a joyride to the badside of town(all from the comfort of their own homes). For many this scenario alone is enough to dissuade them from autonomous vehicles.

Everyone and their project manager is riding the train that is “IoT “. In the midst of increasingly prevalent cyber crime, the greatest threats to this new way of life are without a doubt cyber attacks. This has been fostered an overwhelming demand for equally advanced cyber security solutions for all of the propogating x86 IoT devices and hardware. The time is ripe for investors looking to grab a stake in this booming industry that exhibits no end in sight.

Intel boosting cyber security division to better cope with x86 IoT revolution Reviewed by James Piedra on 11:43 AM Rating: 5

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