[ISN] WindowsXP will include a firewall of sorts

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Sat Aug 18 2001 - 01:31:40 PDT

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    Forwarded by: Patrice Boivin <lori.patat_private>
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    "Frankly, I think that the personal firewall guys ... they're going to
    be roadkill," he said.
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