Intel to buy McAfee in $7.68 billion deal

September 3, 2010 2:34:33 PM PDT
Peace of mind for consumers will be a major benefit with today's news that chipmaker Intel will buy its Santa Clara neighbor, McAfee, for nearly $7.7 billion.

McAfee makes anti-virus and Internet security software solutions and has been a long-time parter of Intel.

Analysts and Intel executives say Intel will work to integrate security into its future chips as chip usage expands into a wide range of next-generation devices.

"We're getting customer inquiries from sewing machine companies, windmill companies, of course, cars, smart phones, those types of things. It's the wild west out there in terms of, are you sure you're going to be able to secure those devices," Intel spokesperon Bill Kircos said.

Sewing machines?

Intel says sewing machine manufacturers have approached it for help in solving a potential threat of virus or malware being downloaded onto machines that get their patterns and embroidery codes from the Internet.

We went to Viking Sewing Center in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood where we saw machines made by Husqvarna Viking that have USB ports and import sewing patterns from memory sticks and from the Internet.

"Anything with a computer or a board in it is vulnerable to any kind of download attack, so damage to a board, damage to a design, a pattern. All of these things are possibilities," Viking Sewing Center owner Gordon Falk said.

Intel and MacAfee plan to build security right into the chip to ward off malicious attacks.

The potential threat is growing with the adoption of utility smart meters and security cameras that send back traffic and surveillance video over the Internet.

However, analysts say the biggest threat is consumer devices, especially the smart phone.

We talked to cnet.com's Brian Cooley via Skype.

"They're to a degree getting into the headache business by making more and more chips that are going to be hack targets, so why not get into the aspirin business by offering this kind of security technology as well," he said.

As more and more devices are connected to the Internet, the whole goal is to make it so we don't have to think about it, as long as the security is built into the chip.


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