NSS Labs announced on Wednesday it had filed an antitrust suit against CrowdStrike, Symantec and ESET over what the testing firm claimed is an extensive, coordinated effort to prevent the company from testing leading antimalware products.
The NSS Labs lawsuit, which also named the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization, alleged CrowdStrike, Symantec, ESET and the AMTSO worked in concert to impede NSS Labs’ ability to test their products. In a scathing blog post, NSS Labs CEO Vikram Phatak accused the antimalware vendors and the AMTSO of trying to suppress negative product reviews from NSS Labs.
“We filed this suit because some vendors have not been living up to their responsibility to protect consumers and they know it, and they’re trying to prevent the public from knowing it too,” Phatak wrote in the blog post. “If you are in the cybersecurity industry, it won’t surprise you to hear that vendors often know about their products’ deficiencies yet don’t reveal them to consumers. What should shock you is that they are actively conspiring to prevent independent testing that uncovers those product deficiencies to prevent consumers from finding out about them.”
The NSS Labs lawsuit, Phatak wrote, was filed in the hopes of “advancing transparency and accountability” in the antimalware and cybersecurity spaces.
Phatak claimed the vendors “are openly exerting control and collectively boycotting testing organizations that don’t comply with their AMTSO standards — even going so far as to block the independent purchase and testing of their products.” He further claimed that the AMTSO standards are not neutral and are instead driven by the antimalware vendors themselves in an apparent effort to produce beneficial results.
The AMTSO is a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 to “improve the business conditions related to the development, use, testing and rating of antimalware products and solutions.” The organization has more than 50 member companies, including CrowdStrike, Symantec and ESET.
According to the AMTSO’s website, a testing lab that wants comply with the AMTSO standard for a specific antimalware test “must provide AMTSO with formal notification and publish a detailed test plan prior to starting the test. This process is intended to provide vendors an opportunity to review the test plan and provide their input, highlighting any potential issues with the test design.”
It’s unclear if NSS Labs participated in the AMTSO’s process.
In addition to the AMTSO, Phatak’s blog post about the NSS Labs lawsuit specifically criticized CrowdStrike as one of many vendors that have implemented clauses in end-user licensing agreements to prevent organizations from testing the products without the vendor’s permission. CrowdStrike filed a lawsuit in federal court against NSS Labs in 2017 to prevent NSS Labs from releasing a report on its advanced endpoint protection product tests, in which CrowdStrike was given a “caution” rating; the court denied CrowdStrike’s request.
CrowdStrike issued the following statement to SearchSecurity: “CrowdStrike supports independent and ethical testing — including public testing — for our products and for the industry. We have undergone independent testing with AV-Comparatives, SE Labs and MITRE and you can find information on that testing here. We applaud AMTSO’s efforts to promote clear, consistent, and transparent testing standards. Regarding NSS, CrowdStrike is currently in litigation with them and we cannot comment on ongoing litigation.”
Keyboard arrived, excellent packaging. Tested, and is in perfect working order with my Macbook air.
Also tested with my Win10 PC and worked perfectly with it. Doesn’t work with setting BIOS (of course, no bluetooth-only keyboard will) but works fine for login, waking up PC from sleep / hibernate etc.
For future reference, this is the A1314 (2 battery) 4-generation model (with Expose / Mission Control keys) that works fine with Win10. My old keyboard was the A1255, that doesn’t play with Win10.
Pleasure dealing with Karma12, thanks for the sale.
Cisco has released new wireless headsets designed for use with UC apps such as Cisco Webex and Cisco Jabber. The vendor also upgraded its line of Webex room kits and displays.
Cisco entered the headset market in March with a wired headset targeted at contact center agents. The vendor expanded its portfolio this week with the release of two wireless Cisco headsets, as well as two additional wired models.
Cisco has historically relied on partnerships with vendors including Plantronics and Jabra to provide customers with headsets that integrate with their IP phones and UC apps. The vendor will continue to support those partners, even as it competes against them with its new Cisco headsets.
IT administrators have begun demanding more of headset vendors — better troubleshooting controls, in particular — as the devices have emerged as a primary interface for connecting to UC apps, said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.
“Ultimately, [Cisco is] viewing the headset as an extension of a UC platform and they are a little more reluctant to give that to a third party,” Lazar said. Cisco will be able to add AI and other advanced features to the headsets in the future, he said.
Businesses can manage their Cisco headsets through Cisco Unified Communications Manager, which includes controls for updating firmware, monitoring usage and diagnosing problems. Plantronics Manager Pro and Jabra Xpress give businesses similar remote management capabilities.
The two wireless Cisco headsets have ranges of 300 feet and their earpieces light up to indicate that a call is in progress. The new wired models give users the option of connecting using a USB adapter or a standard 3.5mm headphone jack.
“Very simply put, we are setting the bar on what we want the quality to be with these headphones,” said Sri Srinivasan, the general manager of Cisco’s team collaboration group.
Professional headset manufacturers made a combined $1.23 billion in sales last year, with revenues in that market expected to grow at an average annual rate of 8% through 2024, according to research by Frost & Sullivan.
Cisco does not want to miss that market opportunity, especially as headsets become more advanced and more integral to UC and collaboration, said Alaa Saayed, analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
Besides the headsets, Cisco released a new video codec for boardrooms and auditoriums. The Cisco Webex Room Kit Pro, which replaces the Cisco SX80 Codec, includes six concurrent video inputs, three 4K video outputs, and eight microphones.
The Room Kit Pro also comes with AI features such as noise suppression, voice-activated meeting controls, and automated framing of meeting participants. Cisco has partnerships with LGE and Samsung to simplify integrations with those vendors’ displays.
The Room Kit Pro is the most advanced of Cisco’s video codecs, which can run on the cloud or on premises. The Room Kit Plus is for midsize conference rooms of up to 14 people, while the Room Kit is designed for rooms of up to seven people.
“With the new units Cisco is further differentiating itself from lower priced off-the-shelf solutions in the midsize, as well as large room category, including training rooms and auditoriums,” said Roopam Jain, analyst at Frost & Sullivan.
Cisco also released two new Webex displays this week. The Webex Room 70 G2 display costs the same as the original Webex Room 70 display but runs on the new Room Kit Pro codec for large conference rooms.
The Webex Room 55 Dual display uses the Room Kit Plus codec and includes two 55-inch displays, while the previously released Webex Room 55 display comes with one screen and uses the Room Kit codec.
“Cisco continues to lead the market by offering a richer use experience, including rich AI features with greater flexibility at prices lower than its previous generation of units,” Jain said.
SMB backup software specialist BackupAssist this week added protection for email mailboxes and files stored in the cloud.
The newest BackupAssist software, called BackupAssist 365, lets customers copy email mailboxes and files from the cloud to an on-premises server. The on-premises, off-cloud backup can protect businesses against accidental or malicious data deletion and ransomware.
Unlike cloud-to-cloud backup products that allow organizations to move data from SaaS applications to another public cloud, the new BackupAssist software only backs up to local storage.
Troy Vertigan, vice president of channel sales and marketing at BackupAssist, based in Australia, said the cloud-to-local backup costs up to 75% less than a cloud-to-cloud subscription.
Despite what the BackupAssist software’s 365 name suggests, the product works with more than just Microsoft Office 365. BackupAssist 365 lets users back up mailboxes from Rackspace, Microsoft Exchange, Gmail, Outlook and Internet Message Access Protocol servers, as well as files from Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Secure File Transfer Protocol and WebDAV. BackupAssist CEO Linus Chang said a future update will enable support for the entire G Suite.
George Crump, president and founder of analyst firm Storage Switzerland, said BackupAssist 365 is a good option for protecting data born in the cloud, but he’s not sure the vendor’s customers are convinced they need that.
“The big challenge is convincing the entire market that you actually do need to back up Office 365. There’s still this misbelief that the cloud is this magical place where data never gets deleted,” Crump said.
Although cloud users don’t have to worry about hardware failure or disaster recovery, Crump said that merely shifts the risk elsewhere.
George Crumppresident and founder, Storage Switzerland
“Once you’re cloud-based, your concern really isn’t disaster recovery anymore. What you’re really protecting against is data corruption and account hijack,” Crump said.
BackupAssist’s Chang agreed his SMB target market needs convincing of the value of cloud backup. “The majority of SMB customers and the vast majority of consumers are not doing any sort of backup whatsoever,” Chang said.
Chang said BackupAssist’s customers also include managed service providers who are in charge of their clients’ data, and BackupAssist 365 can help them stay compliant.
The new BackupAssist software is generally available. Its annual subscription fee is $1 per user, per month, for the first 24 users, and it drops to 95 cents for 25 to 49 users and 90 cents if there are 50 or more users. A user is defined as a single account identity, allowing for one user to back up multiple clouds.