At the RSA Conference this week, Intel outlined how it is investing in people, processes and products to deliver security without sacrificing performance.

As the cyber and network security landscapes continue to grow and evolve, Intel’s goal is to stay one step ahead by driving innovation across products and research to help build strong security communities both internally and externally.

Intel’s 2021 Product Security Report noted that 93% of vulnerabilities addressed in Intel products were a direct result of Intel’s proactive investment in security assurance. Security begins with Intel, and every component in the system — from software to silicon and network to edge — plays its part to help secure data.

Security is a team sport and addressing security challenges requires the entire ecosystem to come together. Intel continues to engage with ecosystem and government partners to advance the conversation on policies, best practices, standards and public-private partnerships that advance security and trust.

New design blueprint

Offering an augmented approach to edge and cloud network security integration, the newly announced Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design will enable improved network and security processing performance, while reducing the overall infrastructure footprint for network and security solution providers.

The reference design is a highly efficient blueprint that allows original design manufacturers to quickly build – and bring to market – PCIe add-in cards featuring Intel QuickAssist Technology (Intel QAT) acceleration and full Intel-based server functionality, including orchestration and management. Ideal for IPsec, SSL/TLS, firewall, SASE and analytics workloads, design-optimized cards can be integrated by network and security vendors within their solutions to expedite the integration of network and security functions and maximise the capabilities of server infrastructure at the edge.

Ecosystem partners are currently developing products based on the reference design. This allows systems vendors, solutions integrators and end customers broad choice and the ability to consolidate more network and security workloads on to server platforms without increasing the use of rack space. The reference design also allows development of solutions, like software assets developed on Intel-based platforms, that may be used without additional re-architecting, porting or compiling.

Silicom and F5 will be among the first to utilize the Intel NetSec Accelerator Reference Design to offer integration and acceleration of networking and security functions for rapid scale and time to market.

Project Circuit Breaker expands

Following this year’s introduction of Project Circuit Breaker, Intel recently completed its first two pilot events, “Camping with Tigers”, and “SGX-Guarden Party”.

This expansion of Intel’s existing open Bug Bounty program brings together a community of elite hackers to hunt bugs in firmware, hypervisors, GPUs, chipsets and other hardware. Project Circuit Breaker is part of Intel’s effort to meet security researchers where they are and create more meaningful engagement.

Intel continues to offer training to security researchers, new hacking challenges and opportunities to explore new and pre-release products, as well as new collaborations with Intel hardware and software engineers.

More trainings and hacking challenges are on the horizon, starting with, “Alders and Seekers”, where participants will test the Intel NUC Kit including a 12th Gen Intel Core desktop processor with the Intel vPro Platform, and “Trusted Crossings”, which will target a new Intel technology.

Hardware-based security

In March, Intel announced the latest Intel vPro platform, powered by 12th Gen Intel Core processors and built for business productivity. This momentum continued at RSAC, where Intel showcased its built-in security capabilities enabling hardware, software and service providers to protect against threats using innovative methods.

Intel Threat Detection Technology (Intel TDT), part of Intel Hardware Shield’s suite of advanced capabilities on Intel vPro and also available on Intel Core platforms, equips endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions, such as ESET and CrowdStrike, with CPU heuristics for advanced memory scanning, cryptojacking and ransomware detection.

Intel continues to collaborate with partners like Microsoft on enhancing security for Windows 11 and beyond, including the integration of Intel TDT into Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. From power-on through boot-up, Windows 11 security protections from Intel are part of a comprehensive strategy based on hardware layers of security, from chip to cloud. Today, 12th Gen Intel Core processor-based business client platforms deliver highly effective, low-overhead security protections for Windows 11 and the applications and data that run on it.

Additionally, Intel and Dell have been partnering for decades in the commercial device space, employing a holistic approach to security through software-based protections, silicon-based protections from Intel and hardware-based capabilities that help defend against attacks targeting the deepest levels of a device.

Evolution of the digital supply chain

Security challenges in supply chains have become more sophisticated over time, especially when considering the built-in complexity of modern device supply chains where multiple parties can have vastly different security processes, tools and abilities.

Intel’s supply chain strategy covers several elements including B2B vulnerability disclosure managed in a coordinated fashion with Intel’s ecosystem partners to ensure visibility into released mitigations and guidance. It also includes traceability and digital transparency supported by Intel Transparent Supply Chain that encompasses the tools, policies and procedures that help provide visibility and traceability of hardware components, firmware and systems.

To keep pace with the changing security landscape, supply chain strategies must evolve to augment physical supply chain security with expanded digital supply chain security. These new capabilities would expand supply chain protections to recording and tracking key device information, including manufacturing data and subsequent modifications across its lifecycle.

Confidential computing investments

Confidential computing is on the rise, as demonstrated last month at Intel Vision with the introduction of Project Amber, a service-based security implementation of an independent trust authority. Project Amber will help provide organisations with remote verification of the trustworthiness of a compute asset in cloud, edge and on-premise environments.