Symantec on 60 Minutes

If you’re of a certain age and you hear about a company being featured on 60 Minutes, it conjures up memories of Mike Wallace chasing a corrupt CEO into the parking lot, asking about misappropriated funds and dubious travel expenses.

However, that was certainly not the case when Symantec was recently featured on a 60 Minutes story about the Stuxnet virus. The series needed a go-to company with IT security expertise to analyze the virus’s impact, and they wisely chose the industry’s largest manufacturer of security software.

The story featured correspondent Steve Krofft investigating the origins of Stuxnet, how it is suspected in the sabotage of the Iranian nuclear program, and the political consequences of its alleged use in a military or government operation. Symantec Operations Manager Liam O’Murchu told Krofft that the virus’s creators never intended for it to be discovered before it had completed its task. “You don’t want the code uncovered, you want it kept secret,” he said. “You want it to just keep working, stay undercover, do its damage and disappear.”

O’Murchu, who has also blogged extensively on Stuxnet (http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/liam-o-murchu), was placed in the unusual position of explaining why the “out-ing” of a destructive virus was a bad thing. As he works for a company dedicated to securing IT systems for public and private enterprises, this may have been a historic first.

Despite the unique circumstances, the value of being selected by television’s most respected news program as an expert source in a chosen field should not be underestimated. We wonder how many companies considering a change or an upgrade to their security, storage or systems management solutions may consider the 60 Minutes endorsement before making a decision.

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