Future of Security Doomed for Failure?

Speaking at the 2013 RSA Conference last week, Mike Fey, CTO of McAfee said that many companies just aren’t ready for the sophisticated attacks headed their way these days.

Basically, Fey suggested that based on the way the enterprise landscape looks now, we’re on our way to complete breakdown if companies don’t change their security strategies immediately.

Read the full article online.

McAfee’s Code-Signing Problem with Mac OS X

Last week, McAfee accidentally revoked the digital key the company uses to certify applications that run on Apple’s Mac OS X platform. The incident caused problems for customers who wanted to install or upgrade their Mac antivirus products.

If you have been attempting to install or upgrade McAfee Security for Mac, you may have noticed that the application was blocked from running on the system. Temporarily disabling Gatekeeper did not allow installation to proceed.

Luckily, McAfee engineers resolved the issue and have provided an updated binary of McAfee Security 1.2 for Mac. The new installer is available on the IS&T Software Grid.

The latest information on the issue is posted here.

Virus Protection at MIT

Virus protection, when used correctly, prevents viruses, adware, spyware and other malicious code from accessing your computer, where cyber criminals could collect sensitive information, turn your computer into a bot that sends out malware or spam, or modify the computer in other ways without your authorization.

At MIT, computers on the network may be more exposed to such risks than they would be on a home or company network, because of the nature of the work being done here at the Institute. Education, collaboration and research require the MIT network and other IT resources to be highly available at all times, thus restrictions are less likely to be applied.

IS&T provides tools and resources for the MIT community to ensure computer users have a layered defense against many of these threats. For example, free virus protection software. The virus protection application provided by MIT is the McAfee suite of products:

  • Mac: McAfee Security 1.2
  • Windows: VirusScan Enterprise 8.8
  • Linux: VirusScan 5.20

Key features of the application are, among other things, centralized and simplified security management, proactive threat protection, continuous and on-demand scanning and seamless security updating.

Learn more or download virus protection from the IS&T software grid.

McAfee Issues Hotfix for Apple FileVault Users

McAfee has released a hotfix for its Security Suite 1.1 for Mac product to address a potential conflict with Apple’s FileVault encryption system. The conflict, which affects machines running Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) and 10.6 (Snow Leopard), can cause systems to become unresponsive after a user logs in.

IS&T recommends that all those utilizing FileVault and McAfee Security Suite 1.1 concurrently apply hotfix HF688476.

A similar note has been posted to IS&T’s McAfee Security Suite product page.

For assistance with McAfee Security Suite, contact the Help Desk at 617.253.1101 or helpdesk@mit.edu. You can also submit a request online.

Which AV Product is Better?

The question about which AV (anti-virus) software to use comes up all the time. To date, it has been tricky answering this question to anyone’s satisfaction. The software provided by MIT, McAfee VirusScan (or McAfee Security for Macs), does a pretty good job of keeping the most dangerous of viruses off your system, but it falls short when it comes to spyware protection.

A recent survey and comparison report by PC Antivirus Reviews doesn’t even list McAfee in the top five AV products. At the top of the list are products by Vipre, BitDefender, Kaspersky, AVG and Avast. Their cost is on average $40.

However, for many of us, having a free product is appealing. McAfee is a free download for the MIT community and it’s better than using nothing. Another option, if you run a Windows machine, is to use the free products by Microsoft: Microsoft Security Essentials, Windows Defender and Microsoft Safety Scanner. Will these do as good a job?

The answer, again, is tricky. In the end, experiences may vary and depend on many different factors: The operating system and whether it has the latest updates, the use of protective measures built into the browser one uses, whether ports are open or closed and can limit incoming traffic to the computer, whether spam is caught before reaching one’s inbox, and how AV product settings are configured (which areas it will scan, how often, how often virus definitions are updated, etc).

User behavior can also be a factor. If you use the computer primarily for responsible work-related purposes, you are more likely to avoid dangerous viruses on the Internet, than if you use it for personal use or click on everything and anything.

My suggestion is to buy the best AV product you can afford or take a risk with a free one. But remember, as with anything in this world, you get what you pay for. And do your homework to find the one that best suits your situation.

For next time: An article comparing and contrasting McAfee VirusScan to the Microsoft products mentioned above and other commonly used AV products.

McAfee Security 1.1 Available for Mac Users

Last week Information Services and Technology (IS&T) announced support for McAfee Security Suite version 1.1.

McAfee Security 1.1 is the virus protection application recommended by IS&T for users of Macintosh OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and OS X 10.5 (Leopard). It replaces McAfee’s VirusScan and older versions of McAfee Security Suite. It includes performance and security enhancements and provides the most up-to-date virus and malware detection engines.

If you use a Macintosh and do not have McAfee Security 1.1 on your computer, IS&T strongly recommends that you install this software.  You can download it from IS&T’s McAfee Security 1.1 for Macintosh page.

IMPORTANT NOTE: IS&T is recommending to hold off on upgrading to OS X 10.7 (Lion) until supported products by IS&T have been fully tested or have been upgraded to run on the new operating system.

For help with installing or using McAfee Security 1.1, contact the IS&T Help Desk at helpdesk@mit.edu or 617.253.1101. You can also submit a request online.

McAfee Security for Mac Hotfixes Available for MIT

On June 23rd, Information Services and Technology (IS&T) released a series of hotfixes for McAfee Security 1.0 for Macintosh.

McAfee Security 1.0 is the virus protection application recommended by IS&T for users of Macintosh OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) and OS X 10.5 (Leopard). McAfee Security for Macintosh replaces McAfee’s VirusScan for Macintosh.

To improve the performance and stability of McAfee Security 1.0, IS&T recommends that all McAfee Security Suite users install the newly released hotfixes. Instructions for downloading and installing are available in Hermes.

If you use a Macintosh and don’t have McAfee Security 1.0 on your computer, IS&T strongly recommends that you install this virus protection software. Note that after downloading the software, the hotfixes will also need to be installed. You can download it from IS&T’s website.

For help with installing or using McAfee Security 1.0, contact the IS&T Help Desk at helpdesk@mit.edu or 617.253.1101. You can also submit a request online.