Skip to main content

Renée James: IoT could be a goldmine for hackers but Intel Security and McAfee are up for a fight

Intel president Renée James this morning took the main stage at FOCUS 14, delivering the opening keynote and offering a glimpse into her vision for the company's role in the security game.

While much of her speech focused on Intel's relatively new relationship with McAfee, James also delved into the industry as a whole, and how she thinks overall operations can be improved, so we can fend of cyber criminals more effectively.

"We're experiencing the same things as you," she began, referring to Heartbleed and Shellshock, which had much of the tech world gripped by fear earlier in the year. "We all need to be vigilant and do more."

No great surprises there, however, the points she made next were, for me, fairly unexpected.

"The threat landscape is expanding," said James. "It's getting much more bigger than we expected." This, according to James, is largely due to the rise of the Internet of Things phenomenon, which the majority of spokespeople I've chatted to, from companies all over the world, seem incapable of criticising.

Like these numerous IoT sycophants, James acknowledged that this trend will lead to the development of a more intelligent and connected world. However, she was quick to point out that it will also massively increase the potential for serious threats.

Having listened to James, it's clear that she reckons Intel Security (relying heavily upon McAfee) is the best in the business, but it was nice to see a shot of reality too.

While a lot of security experts are content with throwing around soundbites like "we need to think outside the box" and "we need to be ahead of the game" willy-nilly, James seems different. She fully recognises that hackers and criminals often move a lot faster than the good guys, and it's incredibly difficult to keep up with the enemy.

Read more: FOCUS 14: Condoleezza Rice, Renée James and Raj Samani live

As Intel Security SVP Chris Young put it, our adversaries are more sophisticated than ever and are moving quicker than Apple, Google and everyone else in Silicon Valley, and that fragmentation, rather than poor security, is often to blame for a breach.

"Unfortunately, security is a technology that suffers from having to scare people to motivate them to invest in something they can't see," added James.

Altering this reality seems like an impossible task for anyone to achieve right now, but it will be interesting to see how Intel Security approaches it.