Microsoft Lures Second Security Guru

Microsoft has added another high-profile IT threat researcher to its growing security team by luring Jimmy Kuo, a former research fellow at anti-virus software maker McAfees AVERT Labs.

According to multiple sources, Kuo, who has been working in McAfees Anti-Virus and Vulnerability Emergency Response Team Labs since the outfit was started in 1995, will reportedly serve as an anti-virus guru at large at Microsoft.

McAfee officials confirmed that Kuo is no longer with the company. Microsoft officials confirmed that he is joining the software vendor. A company spokesperson said Kuo will serve as a senior security researcher with Microsofts Security Research and Response team. Attempts to reach Kuo directly were unsuccessful.

The hiring away of Kuo from McAfee is the second major personnel defection from a security software maker to Microsoft in just the last month. In mid-August, Microsoft announced that it had hired veteran virus hunter Vincent "Vinny" Gullotto from Symantec to head Microsofts new Security Research and Response team.

Kuo, who is credited by McAfee with discovering the destructive Melissa virus in 1999, is considered by some to be a more significant hiring on the part of Microsoft than even Gullotto. In a news release celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its AVERT Labs in 2005, McAfee highlighted Kuo as one of its top security experts, and the researcher was awarded a Federal 100 Award for his work on the Melissa virus.

In addition to his well-publicized work at McAfee, Kuo is involved with several influential industry groups, most notably the Computer Anti-virus Research Organization, an informal group of experts working together since 1990 to study malware in both the corporate and academic arenas.

Senior Writer Ryan Naraine contributed to this report.