http://www.computerworld.com/securitytopics/security/story/0,10801,78939,00.html By MARK HALL MARCH 03, 2003 Computerworld SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Listeners praised Microsoft Corp.'s recent efforts to improve product security and patch management after hearing Scott Charney, the company's chief security strategist, describe them in detail. But they agreed that Microsoft hasn't yet shown it can reach its own security goals. Speaking here at the Computerworld Premier 100 conference last week, Charney explained how, as part of its Trustworthy Computing initiative, Microsoft delayed the release of products such as Windows 2003 and Visual Studio .Net. That delay, he said, gives developers who have been trained in areas such as threat modeling and penetration testing a chance to review the software code for flaws. The company also added two layers of security verification outside of the product groups, because making developers in the product groups responsible for security "was like having the fox guarding the henhouse," Charney said. And despite complaints from some corporate users, Microsoft products will now be shipped with maximum security features turned on, Charney said. Those moves are essential, according to Phil Dunkelberger, CEO of PGP Corp., a software security provider in Palo Alto, Calif. "Now they have a guy who is a traffic cop who does not have money at stake," he said of Charney. Dunkelberger went on to praise the idea of shipping products with security features enabled by default. "Locking down products when they're released is good, even when faced with resistance from larger users," he said. But he expressed disappointment that Charney didn't discuss the idea of opening up the security elements of Microsoft's products to open-source evaluation. PGP's source code is released for open-source review before it's sold commercially. RA Vernon, chief security officer at Reuters America Inc. in New York, said that before Microsoft can achieve the goals of its Trustworthy Computing initiative, "major cultural change has to take place" within Microsoft. Charney acknowledged that that was true, specifically in relation to the vendor's patch management procedures, which he characterized as "not good today at all." He said Microsoft's decentralized management approach, while "wonderful" in many respects, is an impediment to effective patch management. For example, the company had eight patch installers, and some tools can't determine whether a patch has been installed properly or not. That, he said, will change with the release of Longhorn, the code name for the next release of the Windows operating system. With that release, which isn't expected before mid-2004 at the earliest, a single patch installer will exist. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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