McAfee Lauds Microsofts

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2007-08-30 Print this article Print

Vista SP1 Security Overhaul "> Back in the fall of 2006, McAfee, Symantec and Check Point fumed as Microsoft Vistas Security Center hid their products where only sophisticated and dedicated customers could dig them out. Not only that, Microsoft in effect hid its x64 kernel as well, putting it beyond the reach of advanced security products. The issue was twofold: First, security vendors contended, there wasnt good communication between Vista interfaces and their existing security products, and second, security products couldnt effectively interface with the Vista kernel.
Microsoft listened.
Now that Microsoft has shared the Vista SP1 release timetable plus a few details about what it will be packing, McAfee, for one, is happy at last. (Check Point Software Technologies and Symantec, two other security vendors who vented at Microsoft over these issues last fall, did not respond to requests for comment by the time this article was posted.) "Microsoft had committed back at the turn of the year [2007] that they would indeed address both issues, and they have done the job," said George Heron, McAfees vice president and chief of research. "We [have seen early] versions of the interfaces, and as far as McAfee is concerned, were totally pleased with the direction [in which Microsoft is] going." Specifically regarding security, SP1 will include APIs through which third-party security and malicious software detection applications can work with kernel patch protection on Vista x64. Whats the matter with Vista? Here are 12 reasons why its struggling, and five ways to get it back on its feet. Also on the way is what Microsoft says will be a more secure way for Windows Security Center to communicate with third-party security software vendors. As David Zipkin, Windows client senior product manager, told eWEEKs Joe Wilcox, Microsoft is making changes because it agrees with the security software developers who complained that the "channel" for communicating between Security Center and their software wasnt secure enough. Microsofts solution: "Introduction of a more secure channel," Zipkin told Wilcox. Two channels will operate "side by side" for several months, and then the older one "will just turn off," he said. Heron told eWEEK that SP1 will also present a more level playing field for third-party security products, giving customers more choice as they try to figure out how to secure their systems. "So when its reported to the user that certain anti-spam technology is being used, its not biased reporting from Microsoft but accurately represents other technologies on systems, as well as giving users the ability to choose whatever technologies he or she desires," Heron said. Over time, Heron said, Microsoft user interfaces are going to be backing up further and further to make security vendors technologies more evident to Vista users. Not that McAfees customers have been complaining of their experiences with Vista, but they have told the security vendor that theyd like to see McAfees products more evident in Vistas user interface, Heron said. "Now were at the point where Microsoft has taken the blanket off things and really is making it generally available and making the user experience better, and in the process our customers are able to take McAfee security software present on a system and be able to choose in a more straightforward manner" to use it, he said. Page 2: McAfee Lauds Microsofts Vista SP1 Security Overhaul

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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