April 16, 2002, 1:24 PM — McAfee.com Corp. Tuesday took the wraps off a new strategy and technology that should allow the company to provide broader, more intelligent security services to its customers using XML (Extensible Markup Language) and Web services, the company said. The company also announced a new software tool central to this strategy and upgrades to three existing products allowing them to work with the new technology.
The new initiative, dubbed "Grid Security Services," will use distributed computing techniques like those used in genome research to provide real time, dynamic security for every McAfee.com customer, said Srivats Sampath, chief executive officer of McAfee.com, which is located in Sunnyvale, California.
Each user of McAfee.com managed antivirus, firewall or privacy services will be able to opt-in to in the Grid Security Services, which will be free, he said. If they agree to be part of the service, they will become "nodes" on the grid and data from their McAfee.com security measures will be communicated to a central McAfee.com hub constantly and in real-time, Sampath said. The data will be exchanged using SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and XML, he said.
McAfee.com's hub will then process the data coming in from users and generate alerts, updates, fixes and information about security threats as they happen, Sampath said. These alerts will frequently come in the form of pop-up windows alerting users to updates or patches, and installing them with a single click, he said, adding that users will not be overwhelmed by the volume of updates. Alerts will be routed either through the new SecurityCenter software announced Tuesday or though Microsoft Corp.'s .Net Alerts.
Grid Security Services will allow McAfee.com to offer users security measures more directly in tune with the threats they face, Sampath said. Security will now be "driven by what we're actually sensing on the grid," he said.
"The linchpin of the (grid security) strategy" is the new McAfee.com SecurityCenter console announced Tuesday, he said.
McAfee.com already offers a SecurityCenter pane built into Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Messenger.
The SecurityCenter console will allow consumers and small businesses to get a quick overview of their security posture based on the total security threat detected on the grid, he said. The SecurityCenter will provide such information as the My Security Index, which will rate a user's PC on a security scale from one to 10 (10 being the highest) within the context of a given day's threats, and will provide information about specific antivirus, antihacker and antiabuse stances, McAfee.com said in a statement.