In Pictures: Who holds IT security power?

From Apple, to Symantec and Anonymous, lots of people, companies and groups influence the IT security world

  • Power — it’s about industry influence or setting security standards or breaking into networks or defending them. These are some of the most powerful and influential groups operating in the security realm today.

  • According to Infonetics Research, Symantec gets to sit in the most powerful seat for a number of anti-malware software licenses sold globally, mainly for Windows-based desktop computers. But whether its past success can be replicated in a world of the future of smartphones and tablets is an open question.

  • Its iPads and iPhones are in demand, and Apple exerts huge control over its smartphones and tablets by requiring digitally-signed apps, plus the Apple security check, which means less chance of malware but also stifles innovation from the outside industry. What Apple can’t seem to control: users “jailbreaking” their iOS devices, which breaks this security model completely.

  • Well over half of enterprises are using VMware’s virtualization software, so when VMware tells security vendors what to do to suit VMware’s plans, they don’t have much choice but to listen.

  • The shadowy hackivist group Anonymous brazenly goes after its targets, mainly corporations and governments, for any imagined offense, exposing stolen data or launching denial-of-service attacks -- and its ability to bring protesters out into the street, as it did across the world this year, makes it a social movement force.

  • According to Infonetics research, Cisco leads in the market for intrusion-detection and prevention systems, firewalls, and network-access control. If you don’t count router-based firewalls, Check Point leads in non-router-based firewalls.

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology, headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., is filled with researchers working away on the standards that will define civilian U.S. government network security and practices, often influencing the commercial sector.

  • The Gartner consulting firm and its information-technology analysts carry outsized influence with their reports on security products, service and practices. Enterprise customers use Gartner “Magic Quadrants” to make buying decisions; vendors fear not being in them.

  • Hacker groups, particularly those regarded as Russian-speaking that hack with botnets for financial gain, and Chinese groups whose focus is believed to be stealing sensitive business and military data, are the unseen face of the unstopped “Public Enemy” of cybercrime today.

  • Preparing for the bleak prospect of cyberwar is the job of the U.S. Cyber Command, based at the National Security Agency at Ft.Meade, Md., with countries such as China, Russia, Israel, France, Germany, and North Korea among others, also known to prepare cyber defense and offense.

  • Through its Digital Crimes Unit, Microsoft is using its legal clout and technology acumen to go after criminally-operated botnets across the globe, resulting in the takedown of about half a dozen botnets through a coordination with courts, ISPs and others around the world. Microsoft is also naming botnet creators in legal filings, such as the Kelihos botnet master Andrey Sabelnikov of St. Petersburg, Russia.

  • The PCI Security Standards Council puts out network security guidelines related to payment cards which have become one of the top influencers in security implementation for any organization accepting or processing credit- and debit cards.

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