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Symantec Sees Stuxnet In Your Future

Now that a virtual weapon has caused physical damage, network security is more important than ever
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- RSA Conference 2011 -- In a keynote presentation here at the RSA Conference today, Symantec president and CEO Enrique Salem pointed to July 13, 2010, as a sign of things to come.

That's the day, he said, that the security community learned about Stuxnet, the malware that damaged as many as a fifth of the nuclear centrifuges in Iran.

Stuxnet moved the game from espionage to sabotage, he said.

"Being able to destroy physical property is a real threat," said Salem. "What it creates is a starting point for other attackers."

With the "be afraid" theme sounded, obligatory at all security industry events, Salem went on to describe "the tsunami that's going to descend on us all as we move into this brave, new world."

It's a storm of change -- of social media surpassing e-mail in terms of time spent and data volume, of consumerized IT in which employees bring unmonitored technologies into the workplace, and of ever expanding stores of data.

It's a world in which 60 percent to 70 percent of all servers will be virtualized by 2015, Salem said.

It's a world that has slipped from corporate control. The days when IT professionals made the rules and managed computing within their walls are over, he said.

For that litany of problems, Salem proposed a solution: Symantec Endpoint Protection 12, an enterprise security offering coming this summer that promises to block threats old and new through a combination of signature-based, heuristic, behavioral, and host-intrusions prevention systems.

He also described "O3," a layer above the cloud for managing policy, protection, and compliance. O3, he said, represents Symantec's vision for providing enterprises with more control over IT in the cloud. It sounds like a business intelligence platform for reporting, though it wasn't clear from Salem's brief mention whether this "vision" will eventually become an actual product.

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