McAfee is continuing its campaign to expand security into the embedded device market, as it warned future malware attacks will likely affect the running of real-world industrial and medical systems.
Speaking at his RSA conference keynote, chief technology officer Stuart McClure said hacking activities have transitioned from financial and espionage operations to those which could be used as physical attacks on infrastructure and individuals.
Among the most popular targets for such attacks, said McClure, will be embedded devices.
"It is an invisible world that we don't see all that much, but these are not something you can push from the cloud and update," McClure said.
"We need to think about this world equally along the desktops and devices."
Embedded systems have been a popular topic of discussion for McAfee in recent months.
The company extended its embedded reach when parent company Intel paired the firm up with Wind River Systems, and since then mobile and embedded protections have become a top priority for the security firm.
McClure's comments come as researchers are examining and uncovering serious flaws in industrial control platforms such as SCADA hardware.
To help underscore the risk, McClure demonstrated a proof-of-concept attack which targets biomedical devices.
Using a notebook and short-range antenna, the McAfee executive was able to compromise and then drain an automated insulin pump designed for implantation in diabetics.
"We have to push the protective and diagnostic technology all the way down the stack," he said.
"The threat is moving further and further down, we have to push these features further and further into the firmware, the bios and the silicon itself."
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