The battle over the Vista kernel

Brian livingston By Brian Livingston

I’m publishing a special news update today. Why? Because Microsoft substantially changed the debate over the security of Windows Vista just after our Oct. 12 issue appeared.

Two articles by our contributing editors in that newsletter criticized the Microsoft Corp. for poor security planning:

Woody Leonhard reported that Microsoft had stopped giving antivirus companies equal access to newly discovered virus signatures. The Redmond company is now withholding the information to benefit its own for-pay service, Live OneCare, our contributor said. Also, Microsoft’s free malware service, now called OneCare Safety Center, is no longer being updated with the latest signatures, Woody charged.

Ryan Russell analyzed, in the paid section of the newsletter, what he called a “concerted effort” by Microsoft to restrict security vendors’ access to the 64-bit Windows Vista kernel. Independent security firms say that Microsoft is giving privileged access to its own competing security products, Ryan wrote.

The day after our newsletter was published, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said that the software giant would allow outside security vendors to protect the Vista kernel, according to an article in the Seattle Times. On Oct. 16, the Associated Press reported that Microsoft had started giving some technical information to McAfee, Symantec, and other white-hat security experts to enable competition in security products.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2006-10-23: