October 6, 2005 3:29 AM PDT

Microsoft set to test security software

Microsoft plans to release by year's end an initial test version of a new product to protect business desktops, laptops and file servers against malicious code attacks.

The new Microsoft Client Protection product will guard against threats such as spyware, viruses and rootkits, Microsoft said Thursday. The software will offer IT administrators central management capabilities and work with Microsoft's Active Directory and Windows Server Updates Services patch management tool, the company said.

Microsoft did not say how much the new product will cost or when it will be available in final form. A "limited beta" is due out by the end of the year and Microsoft plans to share additional details on the new product in the coming months, it said in a statement.

"This is the first time that we are providing our own products that provide a complete security shield for businesses," said Debby Fry Wilson, director of security engineering and communications at Microsoft. The company will charge for Client Protection but has yet to decide how it will be delivered, she said.

Inside Client Protection
What's known about Microsoft's security package

The Redmond, Wash., software giant made the expected announcement at an event in Munich, Germany, where Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Mike Nash, a corporate vice president in charge of security efforts, discussed the company's security strategy and product road map at a news conference.

The company had previously said it would deliver security products for businesses, pitting it against established players such as Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro.

Microsoft on Thursday also announced the formation of the SecureIT Alliance, a new group focused on providing security products to users of Microsoft products. The alliance includes Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro, along with F-Secure and VeriSign.

"The threats we see do need more than secure software. We need active protection against spyware, malware and viruses. For the first time, with the Microsoft Client Protection, we will deliver this kind of complete security shield for businesses," Ballmer said at the Munich news conference. "I think we have leapfrogged Linux and other systems in helping customers maintain a secure environment. "

Microsoft is already testing Windows OneCare, the consumer counterpart of the newly announced Client Protection product. On Thursday, Fry Wilson said the company plans to deliver the final version of OneCare sometime next year.

In addition to its plans to secure enterprise PCs and file servers, Microsoft on Thursday said it is preparing the release of Microsoft Antigen for Exchange. The antivirus software for e-mail servers is a fruit of the company?s acquisition of Sybari Software early this year. A test version is due in the first half of next year, Microsoft said.

Three other Microsoft-branded Antigen products will also be available in beta next year, Fry Wilson said. These are Microsoft Antigen for SMTP Gateways, Microsoft Antigen Spam Manager and Microsoft Antigen Enterprise Manager, the representative said.

Thursday's announcements show Microsoft has not put security on the back burner, but the company continues to lag in actually delivering products and in providing clear road maps, said Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft.

"Microsoft is doing a good job of telling us the direction they are going; we just don't know when they are going to get there," Cherry said. "Even though we know that they are going to beta some stuff, we still don't know when customers are going to be able to purchase and deploy it."

Since launching its Trustworthy Computing Initiative three years ago, Microsoft has been building its security muscle.

The company has made several security-related acquisitions, including ID management company Alacris last month and hosted e-mail security provider FrontBridge in July. Analysts, however, have criticized Microsoft before for not having a clearer and more productive strategy.

"We have spent and invested two years in laying the groundwork. We are now moving into a new phase of focus where we will be offering new products and services to provide defense-in-depth technologies to help customers secure their networks and systems," Fry Wilson said.

The "groundwork," according to Fry Wilson, first and foremost was the delivery last year of Windows XP Service Pack 2, a security-focused update to the operating system. Other pieces, she said, include the beta of Windows AntiSpyware and the launch of a new patching service in June called Microsoft Update.

"We've come a very long way in a short time improving our process for monitoring and fixing security issues," Ballmer said at the Munich event. "Today I can say that we have the organization, we've got the talent, we've got the skill and the will to secure our products and your systems with an array of increasingly sophisticated protections."

Jason Curtis of ZDNet Germany in Munich contributed to this report.


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i got a better idea
lets just make the next windows *nix based and not have to worry about spyware/virii?? cheaper?? more safe? humm my mac has no problems at all (i love it) and my ubuntu linux box runs like a top
Posted by digitallysick (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Haha :) really good idea
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
A better Idea......
So M$ make the problem and they want to sell you another tool to fix the problem?
As Frank Zappa said "There is a big difference between kneeling down and bending over!". M$ thinks we should all bend.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MSFT can make good on Security, only lipservice, what lackies
Here is a $50 billion cash hoard, waiting to find something
useful to do.....how about rebuild Windows on a new foundation
(they love that word) that is naturally stable and resists

The duct tape, shallow promises, and 3 years of start and stop
protection and security decisions is merely a smoke screen to
get more money out of society. This company has one huge
problem, Innovate or Die, and frankly they are NOT innovators.
With all the money, and 60,000 employees they are still stuck in
the past, nursing windows, and milking checkbooks the world

When the rest of moronic businesses and people "get smart" and
stop buying the $299 PC from DELL, then MSFT will start to
change. It is nice to see their stock drop under $25 finally
getting them to "wake up" and take note of the fact that WE are
tired of paying for their lackluster performance, vacuous
promises, and non-existent security.

I got a Linux box, several OS X Macs, (and some heavily
buttoned down XP and Win2K PCs - usually turned off to save
headaches) and I can tell you that Windows is like a codependent
girlfriend, always wanting "more" help, another chance, one
more update, after a while you get to feel like its YOU as the
central character in a comedy of fools, MSFT will not fix
Windows, so dump it.
Posted by (39 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Gimme, gimmeeee, gimmeeeee.
You gotta admit that MS$ has b**ls. They keep giving us defective products. We help them by identifying the bugs, then they fix some of them and sell us another version, supposedly bug free. We help them some more, and they repeat the process.

I can see the idea of having two editions, one for home and one for business. After all the home user doesn't need all the bells and whistles, while businesses do. However, such things as security and stability are basic concepts and should be included in every product. That's a no-brainer.

The idea of fixing a product known to be defective, and forcing you to pay, is absolutely ridiculous. Even defective autos have recalls.

Auto manufacturers are constantly taking the loss when they fix their mistakes, only MS$ has the nerve to charge you for their own inefficiency.

Why do they give us all the so-called "ports" in the first place? A confusing term for a simple "in" and "out". And why not a system program that lets us close the unneeded ones, identify and keep out what we don't want? Possibly some program that warns when someone other than the user writes to disk or registry? In fact, why not make the registry a simple text file like it was before, where we could easily handle it ourselves? Would those things be so hard to do?

I think I have the answer to the last. It's simply because MS$ realizes the money to be make in adware, and the use of spyware to further it. A multi-billion dollar industry that MS$ will hardly ignore. They want to get into their own versions.

I foresee a time when advertising on your computer seems normal, and is accepted. That when you don't use your mouse or keyboard for a certain time, ads pop up. And when that happens, MS$ will want to collect. Or, of course, they can still collect for a program to stop those ads, getting you both ways. One thing we've learned about MS$ is that they don't miss any way of getting your money.

Oscar Rat
Posted by Oscar Rat (54 comments )
Link Flag
I wonder how long Symatec will keep backing Windows and Microsoft when Microsoft starts giving Anti-virus and Anti-spyware software away for free with Windows? I figure before long most people will rely on Microsoft to secure their PC even though it's Microsoft that created the security problems in the first place.

I use to say that someday the giant will fall, but anymore I am believing that the whole billion dollar computer industry is going to come crashing down. I maybe thinking a bit drastic here, but I think it's time we redesigned the languages we program with, the hardware we run it on, and the laws that protect it.

We are so much smarter today than we have ever been about computers, yet we continue to use languages that are outdated and instead of building computers that have smart hardware we rely on that poorly built software to do the job.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Free? who said free?
When did M$ ever give anything away for free when they could charge you through the nose for it? I can see that they would not want to 'upset' the market by giving away a free product. This will be the excuse for not making it free!
I hope the more M$ plays like this the more I hope people will move to another OS. I have been meaning to make the jump for a while but I can't see any reason to stay with M$ any longer.
Posted by (4 comments )
Link Flag
This use to be called FRAUD
Seems to be nice to create something that's faulty and then
CHARGE the unsuspecting customer to fix the problem.

Second point, "UNIX" is not spelled "*NIX." What's with the

Microsoft® wil go the way of the Dodo the day an OS with Unix
underneath is released by someone who will support it, get it to
the public, and is NOT based on a bunch of patches or security
trap doors.
Posted by (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That is not censorship it is a common way to describe all the variants of unix: linux, OSX, ect.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
"selectively protective"
i wonder if the reason why microsoft isn't talking about the useless windows firewall is similar to why most folks i know who trialled the anti-spyware beta found it to be equally useless.

could it be that both are being engineered to be "selectively protective" against ad/malware which microsoft isn't underwriting?

mebbe it isn't such a smart idea to buy security suites from either an organisation's oem nor the provider of its operating system nor the provider of its internet service. too many vested interests in such venues to provide indepedant system security.

on a similar note, i'll be watching with interest to see which computer security firms choose not to join this "alliance". a few like Checkpoint Software are notable in their absence from the initial membership.
Posted by i_made_this (302 comments )
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Message has been deleted.
Posted by (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Message has been deleted.
Posted by (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's the same old story with Microsoft, greed.
They create the problem, then ask us to pay for them to correct it.

That's what the company's always done. Most of their newer systems are simply corrections from the ones before.

What would we say if Ford sent us a letter stating that there was an error in their automobiles, then asked us to pay to have them correct it?

What if they insisted on how many people could drive the car, how many passengers were allowed? Violate the agreement and they take your car back. It's simply greed.

How would you like it if Ford told you they had a right to break into your car and check the glove compartment to make sure you were the rightful owner? That it was all in the fine print. The fine print that you couldn't read until you bought the car.

Now, they intend to charge us for their own inefficiency. And, like another poster said, they probably have their own agenda regarding adware. After all, there are billions of dollars at stake. Would you you really expect Microsoft to stay out of the field?

On top of it all, I hear the US Congress is debating what Adware and Spyware really are, a definition, for Christ's sake.

They can have mine. "Any thing read from, or placed on, my computer without my express and knowledgable permission," and that includes everybody. Government, my ratlings, my wife, Bill Gates, and everyone else. An easy definition, and they can have it for nothing.

Oscar Rat
Posted by Oscar Rat (54 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's not greed that drives Microsoft...
it's power. Microsoft already has enough money to do what they want. What drives Microsoft is the power to do what they want. They want to control the computer world. From software to hardware.

I don't blame Microsoft for all the security problems anymore. We users all know the problems with Microsoft products and we continue to buy and support them. These day's more of the blame falls on users for A) not learning more about how computers work, B) how to protect ourselves from attacks, C) continuing to quietly support any company that does the things Microsoft has done.

Linux may or may not be the next Desktop replacement, but instead of finding the next best thing we just continue to use the same old thing. I wonder how many people hate or dislike Microsoft and the products they sell, but are still using everything they sell and buying the new stuff everytime it comes out.

I can tell you that I am one. I cringe at the sound of Microsoft and yet I still buy their crap and complain about it in these forums. I scream about how I will never use another Microsoft product and how I will just live without, but guess what I'm just a big lazy sucker too. Instead of learning to live without or support those trying to break in I just keep supporting the company I don't like. I suppose it's just like smoking, drinking, or drugs. Sure I can stop. Sure I can.
Posted by System Tyrant (1453 comments )
Link Flag
Steve Ballmer and Rob Enderle
"I think we have leapfrogged Linux and other systems in helping customers maintain a secure environment."

do people actually believe guys like Steve Ballmer and Rob Enderle?

if yes, then it reflects extremely poorly on their judgment and education.

corporate business had better wake up and realize that these guys are PAID TO TELL YOU WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR!

or... loose Billions!

Microsoft security is not a risk a business should have to take.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Windows has little to do with security
Apple, Linux and UNIX all excel in security because they were designed to be secure from day one.

Microsoft having customers have to PAY to add-on additional software to help Windows with security is wrong.

I know I wouldn't buy it because it was made by those who cannot secure their own OS first.


Any business that wants security can get it right here... openbsd.org FOR FREE!
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If MS was serious about security....
.... Vista and IE would be scrapped,and MS would begin a total
redesign and recoding of Windows from the bottom on up. The
basic visuals could be retained - they aren't the problem - so MS
could maintain identity. But all the arcane, obsolete, and
possible mysterious Windows code and functions would be
abandoned, along with the 1995 mental framework permeating
the current Windows.

But then, that would take people at MS who actually understood
what they were doing. That might be asking for more than is
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What does this mean?
"The threats we see do need more than secure software. We need active protection against spyware, malware and viruses. For the first time, with the Microsoft Client Protection, we will deliver this kind of complete security shield for businesses,"

They admit they are not going to make their code more secure because they feel it isn't the problem.
They feel more software is needed to solve the problem. They believe band-aids are better than fixing the problem, and I won't pay for their products with my own money. My employers do even though I recommend they don't. My parents were right when they said 'Fools and their money will soon be parted.'
Posted by wrwjpn (113 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I keep getting the message "unable to verify certificate" when setting up the microsoft exchange software on the new iphone 2.0 - please help!
Posted by kpwalter1 (2 comments )
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