FireEye vs NSS Labs Advanced Verbal Threats

The tit-for-tat showdown is continuing between FireEye and NSS Labs. The debate reminds me of the old days when it was Oracle vs Microsoft, Oracle vs Peoplesoft, and Oracle vs Competition, in the tit-for-tat showdowns that occurred a decade ago.  Initially, NSS Labs published a security vendor comparison report that examined a handful of enterprise security platforms, and gave FireEye a bottom of the barrel rating. FireEye wasn’t a happy camper, especially after NSS Labs issued the report at the absolute worse time, when the security sector was tanking on Wall Street. The FireEye SVP of Products wrote a scathing blog post calling the NSS Labs report rubbish, and full of flaws. I thought that was the end of it, but NSS Labs responded with a counter argument to the SVPs blog post.   

 FireEye vs NSS Labs Advanced Verbal Threats
  • FireEye claimed “we declined to participate in this test”; which NSS Labs responded “Untrue. When we start this test 7 months ago, FireEye was a willing participant”.
  • FireEye claimed their product used in NSS Labs test was not fully functional and an old version. NSS Labs responded by stating “Untrue. FireEye was a willing participant. It was a fully functional product installed and configured by FireEye engineers.”

On top of that, FireEye stated that NSS Labs test are not a true indicator of real world threats, especially since NSS Labs doesn’t have the FireEyes threat intelligence monitoring and assets present during the test. NSS Labs countered stating that if FireEye cannot detect threats in a lab, how in the world can FireEye detect more sophisticated threats in the real world? Ouch. Both have good arguments, and for now FireEye and NSS Labs are tied. Bottom line, NSS Labs wants to sell its research services, and FireEye wants to sell more products. One marketing trick to bring global attention to a topic is to write a controversial report; NSS Labs accomplished that and is more famous now because of it. FireEye, the ball is in your court, will the SVP respond again. We shall know soon enough.