Security giants jockey to identify threats

Security giants jockey to identify threats

Security vendors Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro all released new 2007 versions of their security software recently. Wireless security plays an important part in their upgrades, and most of the major suites have purpose-built programs to protect wireless networks.

McAfee’s consumer sales manager in Asia Pacific, Monica Kelly, says the new suite adds features as well as improving existing ones. “There are emerging threats we focus on in this edition, such as phishing and the need for wireless security. There is a proliferation of wireless networks in the home. We’ve also changed the experience for the end-user. We’ll be less aggressive in upselling to other products; this is very much a ‘set and forget’ suite.”

Kelly says the ISP and PC OEM segment is the fastest-growing segment, and despite price drops in the market there are still good margins for resellers. The consumer side is still the most successful segment.

“We see more and more resellers selling security as a service,” says Kelly. “Resellers can manage antivirus services and give reports on a monthly basis. We have, in essence, created a service business for resellers.”

Symantec says Vista will bring with it new attack activity, as did Window’s previous operating system, XP. David Hall, Symantec’s consumer product marketing manager, says the landscape has changed and antivirus vendors must change with it. “There’s a move from previous virus attacks to what could be called ‘crime ware’. There’s been a dramatic rise in security threats to the financial sector, as well as root kit attacks on a kernel level.”

In Symantec’s latest threat report, phishing increased over 80% since last year, with the financial sector being the most attacked.

Hall says Symantec has changed its suite this year to improve ease of use to the consumer. “Our previous way of dealing with outbound traffic caused a lot of questions from our end-users. Many felt uncomfortable with it. We’re now using a trusted software list, which will make that decision for the consumer.”

Kelly says the market is more competitive than ever, and the average user has more knowledge than they used to. “It’s a very mature market. Most people know they need protection. We’re trying to bridge the gap where they know they need it, but they don’t necessarily want to know how it works. Most users know when and what they want to buy, which has probably pushed the price down as well.”

McAfee is releasing its internet security product at $99.95, the same price suggested by Symantec for its corresponding product. Both vendors are also offering multiple-user packs.

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