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Linux Security Specialist Joins Microsoft

Linux Security Specialist Joins Microsoft

Linux security guru Crispin Cowan is leaving the open-source world to join (gasp!) Microsoft's Windows security team.

Cowan (left), co-founder of the Immunix Linux distro and one of the brains behind several Linux hardening technologies, will work on the same team at Microsoft that created the oft-criticized UAC (User Account Control) technology.

[ SEE: Microsoft: Software Security Trendsetter? ]

Cowan's hire was announced by an excited Michael Howard, the guy that wrote the book on Microsoft's mandatory SDL (Security Development Lifecycle) process:

"I've known Crispin for many years, and have nothing but the utmost respect for the guy. He's well published, wicked smart, a non-zealot and brutally pragmatic. In my opinion, AppArmor is shining example of his pragmatism; it's simple and it works. What excites me the most is he'll bring a different perspective to the Windows team, and I'm a big believer in stirring the pot!"

Cowan describes his expertise as "survivability," an area of research to make existing systems better able to survive security attacks. He is credited with producing the Immunix OS version of Linux, featuring the StackGuard C compiler, which emits programs resistant to buffer overflow attacks.

Immunix is best described as a family of tools designed to enhance system integrity by hardening system components and platforms against security attacks.