Microsoft Nabs Anti-Virus Ace from Symantec

Veteran virus-hunter Vincent 'Vinny' Gullotto joins Microsoft to head its Security Research and Response team.

Veteran virus-hunter Vincent Vinny Gullotto has joined Microsoft to head its Security Research and Response team, a move that adds instant credibility to the software makers push into the Internet security market.

Gullotto, an anti-virus ace who served stints at McAfee and Symantec, will be general manager of the team, which handles all aspects of malware research and response.

The Security Research and Response team is not to be confused with the 10-year-old MSRC (Microsoft Security Response Center) that serves as hub for the companys response to security incidents and software flaw warnings.

Microsoft isnt shedding much light on Gullottos hiring. In a statement sent to eWEEK, a spokesperson said the Redmond, Wash., company is "very excited that Vincent Gullotto will be joining Microsoft as the general manager of Security Research & Response and looks forward to working with him in his new role."

Microsoft has every reason to be very excited. For starters, it is a major coup to lure Gullotto away from Symantec at a time when Microsoft is aggressively pushing its Windows OneCare PC care utility against Symantecs line of consumer security tools.

Anti-virus companies typically compete on response time—who saw a virus first and how fast a signature was pushed out to subscribers—and Gullottos expertise manning anti-virus labs will be a major asset.

Gullotto is best known for his time at McAfee, where he served as vice president of research for McAfee AVERT (Anti-virus and Vulnerability Emergency Response Team).

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At McAfee, Gullotto has been intimately involved in the day-to-day operations and strategic guidance of AVERT Labs, which has researchers in offices on five continents. Under Gullottos leadership, McAfee AVERT was credited with the discovery of the first wireless virus, Phage.

"Hell help Microsoft a lot," said Roger Thompson, chief technical officer at Exploit Prevention Labs, in Atlanta. "Hell help because he knows everyone."

Thompson, a contemporary of Gullotto who created and sold PestPatrol to CA (formerly Computer Associates) before launching Exploit Prevention Labs, described the anti-virus industry as a very closed sector that generally distrusts outsiders.

"Much of what gets done in the anti-virus industry is based on personal trust," Thompson said in an interview with eWEEK. "All the Microsoft anti-virus guys have been newbies, or outsiders. Vinny would be regarded as an insider," he added.

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