The Windows View
Signal to noise.When Bill Gates talks about security, as he did before an audience of hard-core security pros at the recent RSA Conference in San Francisco, the Microsoft chairman and chief software architect approaches the subject fromfor hima logical place: the center of his desktop. Its like the famous Saul Steinberg "New Yorker" cover: Windows, Office and Internet Explorer in the foreground; .Net servers ringing the enterprise inside a firewall; then XML Web services stretching out across the network to the horizon. From Gates viewpoint, the job looks straightforward. First, lock down Windows by turning on XP Service Pack 2s Windows Firewall by default. When an application wants to speak to the network, the firewall asks you to unblock port access for the program and then dynamically closes the port when youre finished. Then add SP2s Windows Security Center, which monitors system security and enables tools such as system tray alerts to notify you when anti-virus software is out-of-date or turned off. And couple that with an enhanced Internet Explorer Gold Bar, which blocks pop-up ads and renegade ActiveX controls.
Gates is looking to next year for Dynamic System Protection, which can detect when a patch is missing and tell the firewall to block suspicious traffic that contains symptoms of malicious code. For todays virulent entry point for spam, viruses and worms, Gates proposes Caller ID for e-mail, a Microsoft-patented but royalty-free technology to authenticate mail coming from a particular domain.