Forwarded by: Patrice Boivin <lori.patat_private> http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,46144,00.html Associated Press 12:20 p.m. Aug. 17, 2001 PDT WASHINGTON -- A promotional website for Microsoft's soon-to-be-released Windows XP operating system said it would offer the same protection from viruses and hackers that major corporations use. Not so, said a Microsoft executive who had the reference removed from the website after the Associated Press questioned it. "I'm sure that was an unintentional overexuberance there," said Mark Croft, manager for the new Windows product due in stores in October. Croft said Microsoft's plan to add firewall software, designed to protect Internet surfers from hackers, "is a good step from having nothing" but it is not the full-fledged protection found in firewall products sold separately. "It was not our primary goal to provide a really high-end and sophisticated firewall when there are a lot of other totally valid firewall options for Windows today," Croft said. Microsoft's plan to include numerous new features in Windows XP such as the firewall, which complete with stand-alone products made by others, has angered its competitors and raised questions among state regulators. State attorneys general who joined with the U.S. Justice Department in suing Microsoft for antitrust violations four years ago are currently weighing whether to go back to court to challenge Windows XP. A federal appeals court Friday rejected Microsoft's bid to delay the original lawsuit, clearing the way for new hearings to determine a penalty for the company's anticompetitive behavior. Whatever the outcome, experts say consumers should examine closely any firewall claims made by Microsoft or its rivals before assuming they're safe on the Internet. On the website, Microsoft said the new firewall feature "makes your information, computers, and family data safer from intruders as soon as you start using Windows XP." "For years, business networks have been able to protect themselves from outside attacks by using firewalls," it added. "Windows XP offers that same security to consumers with Internet Connection Firewall protection." Before the company pulled the reference on Thursday, experts expressed concerns that such claims would leave consumers thinking they were safer than they were. "The firewall on the operating system isn't going to provide the most protection for people," said Tom Powledge of Symantec, which makes a competing firewall but has a marketing partnership with Microsoft. "People are going to think they're secure when they're not." Internet firewalls protect users from both outside attacks, such as those that clog computers with traffic, and inside damage caused when users unwittingly download a virus or a "Trojan horse" malicious program. Businesses have long needed firewalls because they're a prime target for hackers, and the rapid rise of broadband cable and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet connections in American homes has increased demand for firewalls among average users. Microsoft's firewall is only reliable against inbound attacks, Croft acknowledged. Other programs, either sold or given away for home users by companies such as Symantec, McAfee, Zone Labs and Internet Security Systems, do much more. "Without that outbound protection, users may have a false sense of security," said Chris Le Tocq, a business analyst with Guernsey Research. "It's like buying insurance which doesn't work." But Le Tocq said Microsoft's strategy of including a firewall may pay huge dividends down the road because it could give the software giant a huge consumer advantage over rivals that make their own firewall products. "Frankly, I think that the personal firewall guys ... they're going to be roadkill," he said. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Aug 18 2001 - 03:26:55 PDT