TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Microsoft Says Wwindows is Ssafer Than You Think

Microsoft Says Wwindows is Ssafer Than You Think

Georgina Prodhan (
Thu, 6 Oct 2005 14:01:41 -0500

By Georgina Prodhan

Microsoft Corp. launched a trust-building initiative on Thursday
designed to show its commitment and progress to date in making its
frequently attacked Windows computer operating system more secure from

Microsoft, which is moving increasingly into the territory of
specialist security software companies such as McAfee Inc. and
Symantec Corp., said it planned a string of product launches designed
to combat cybercrime.

The world's biggest software company said it planned to release a
preliminary, or beta, version by the end of this year of new software
to protect corporate computers running Windows against viruses, worms
and other attacks.

"It's a unified product. You don't have to pick whose anti-virus
solution you think is the best," Chief Executive Steve Ballmer told a
news conference in Munich. "The threats we see do need more than
secure software."

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft, which already offers security
software for networked server computers and desktops, said the new
software, called Client Protection, would be aimed at large companies.

It will offer tools for system administrators to keep users' computers
from being infected by viruses and other malicious software and would
be integrated with Microsoft's technology used to track user accounts
and logons.

But Mike Nash, Microsoft's vice president for security technology,
said the new software would not eliminate the need for other security

"Does it mean that we're going to solve all problems immediately? No,"
he told Reuters in an interview. "There are customers that will choose
to use competitors' products."

Microsoft currently offers server-based security software to protect
corporate networks from hackers and is testing an anti-virus and
security software service called Windows OneCare.

The company also said it had set up an alliance of 30 firms including
Symantec and VeriSign to work on security products for the Microsoft
platform, uniting and expanding on previous partnerships.


Microsoft has battled for years against the perception that its
software is not secure. It also presented data on Thursday which it
said showed Microsoft was safer than rival open-source operating
system Linux.

"This is an area we'll continue to invest in the long term," Nash

He added he had seen a culture change since Chairman Bill Gates said
three years ago security would be a top priority.

"I used to be begging people to pay attention to security. Now they
get it. Security is part of everyone's job."

He said the Blaster worm outbreak of 2003, which targeted Microsoft
software and devastated hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide,
was also a spur to action.

"When Blaster happened, I spent a lot of time on the phone. It was
very focusing for the company," he said.

In the last year, Microsoft has also bought a series of companies
including anti-virus software maker Sybari to shore up security in its
Windows and e-mail software.

Asked whether more acquisitions were in the works, Nash said: "There's
nothing specific in a plan."

But he said Microsoft asks the question: "Are there great things out
there that are important to our portfolio?"

Nash also said he was seeing cybercrime increasingly motivated by
financial gain rather than by pure vandalism as hackers use more and
more sophisticated tools to trick users into revealing personal
information or simply to steal data.

"Look at the guy who wrote the Sasser worm. He did it to see if he
could," Nash said. "It's different now."

(Additional reporting by Reed Stevenson in Seattle)

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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