Computer security firm McAfee, which was bought by Intel last year, claims kernel level attacks are increasingly undermining malware protection. Speaking at the company's 2012 Focus conference in Las Vegas, McAfee CTO Mike Fey told the audience that the emergence of highly sophisticated attacks like Flame and Shamoon have made hardware-level protection a priority.
Even more distressing, said Fey, was the possibility for adaptation to other attacks. He said that as malware writers become more comfortable developing kernel-level attacks, the method could be used to facilitate any number of fraudulent activities.
In response, the company believes that security tools will need to move down to the kernel level, building security protections directly into the hardware itself.
Since the company's purchase by Intel, hardware integration has been a top priority for McAfee. Though the strategic angle has been stressed, executives said that the benefits of the Intel deal go beyond access to the chipmaker's products and designs.