Microsoft Works to Secure Customers Networks

Microsoft launches a two-tier program designed to secure its customers' networks and improve the company's own security incident response and prevention methods.

Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday launched a two-tier program designed to secure its customers networks and improve the companys own security incident response and prevention methods.

The program is a response to the rash of viruses, worms and other security incidents that have hit the Internet in the last six months or so, Microsoft officials said. However, much of the Strategic Technology Protection Program, as it is known, has been available previously in one form or another.

The fist phase is called Get Secure and includes a new security tool kit made up of service packs and hot fixes for the Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 environments. The tool kit also includes the new Internet Information Services lockdown tool designed to secure Microsofts IIS Web software.

Get Secure also has a free customer support line for virus-related help.

"We want to get everyone up to the same baseline of security," said Brian Valentine, senior vice president of the Windows division at Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash. "The rate of virus and other attacks is up significantly, and the damage is really starting to affect businesses."

The second part of the initiative is known as Stay Secure and comprises several security rollup packages, an automated service for providing those rollups and the expanded application of the Secure Windows Initiative, or SWI.

The SWI is a comprehensive development program that Microsoft used during the writing and refinement of Windows XP to ferret out and fix security holes before release. It will now be applied to Windows 2000 Service Pack 3, Microsoft officials said.