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McAfee, Adobe Partner on Enterprise Security

McAfee and Adobe Systems on Monday said they will team up to deliver new software that protects sensitive company information such as regulatory compliance and intellectual property data both within and outside the enterprise.

The integrated data loss prevention and enterprise digital rights management software will leverage McAfee's (NYSE: MFE) expertise in policy-based data classification with Adobe's (NASDAQ: ADBE) leadership in policy-based document protection to secure business-critical information and content, according to officials at both companies.

The jointly developed application suite has yet to be named and will not be available until early 2010. When it is actually ready for download, it will be available on the McAfee Web site.

Company officials said the software ensures that access control to this invaluable -- customer lists, patients' medical histories and manuals used by field technicians -- is automatically applied based on the classification of the data and also enforces each company's corporate governance policies to reduce the chances -- and cost -- of losing information.

"We've been hearing for awhile from customers that might have 20,000 employees using laptops and PCs how concerned that are about the types of sensitive information that find their ways on those machines," said John Carione, senior product marketing manager at Adobe. "This software gives them a way to automatically classify it and lock it down to reduce complexity, cost and risk."

Countering attacks on Adobe software

In addition to the new suite of applications, McAfee is also making its McAfee Security Scan antivirus software available as a free download for all customers installing Adobe's Reader and Flash Player software.

When it comes to securing applications, Adobe has learned firsthand just how destructive botnet and malware attacks can be. The company for years has gone at it hammer and tongs with hackers infiltrating Web sites and computers through vulnerabilities in its popular publishing and document management software.

In February, hackers took advantage of a vulnerability in Adobe's Reader and Acrobat applications to take over their victims' computers, forcing the company to issue numerous patches and warnings from its Web site.

In October 2008, two Adobe Web sites were contaminated by a SQL injection attack.

These attacks, according to security software experts, are largely a result of the company's success. Because apps like Acrobat and Reader are so widely used across the full spectrum of computing platforms, users assume it's safe to open files that appear to have been created in the familiar applications.

"Data breaches are happening all over on any mechanism," said Malav Patel, group product marketing manager for McAfee data protection. "This partnership expands the scope of data protection to a wider audience."