Security biggest issue, says Gates

Security is the biggest issue facing the IT industry today, Microsoft boss Bill Gates told customers last week.

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By  Peter Branton Published  April 6, 2004

Security is the biggest issue facing the IT industry today, Microsoft boss Bill Gates told customers last week. “Security is as big and important a challenge as any our industry has ever tackled,” Gates wrote in the latest Microsoft Progress Report, an open letter e-mailed to customers. “It is not a case of simply fixing a few vulnerabilities and moving on. Reducing the impact of viruses and worms to an acceptable level requires fundamentally new thinking about software quality, continuous improvements in tools and processes, and ongoing investments in resilient new security technologies designed to block malicious or destructive software code before it can wreak havoc.” Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect, said Microsoft was making “significant” investments in four areas of security: isolation and resiliency; updating; quality; and authentication and access control. Central to the company’s work on isolation and resiliency is the upcoming Windows XP Service Pack 2. Gates said the company was working on a number of advances, which would be available in late spring, early summer, although he didn’t say if SP2 itself would be ready at that time. Windows Firewall will be turned on by default, while Internet Explorer will automatically block unsolicited downloads from web sites as well as block unwanted pop-up, unless the user clicks on a download link. Outlook Express and Windows Messenger will have better file attachment handling built in. To help guard against buffer overruns, which allow too much data to be copied into areas of a computer’s memory, Microsoft is working on a number of techniques, Gates said. These include working with processor firms Intel and AMD on hardware-enforced data execute protection, he claimed.

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