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October 17, 2006

Microsoft Coooperation With Security Rivals Not All It Seems?

Microsoft's recent announcement that it was cooperating with security rivals may be a bit premature.  Symantec and others are saying that Microsoft is sharing the security APIs but not giving them access to the Vista OS kernel.  They claim that the ability to path the kernel is necessary for advanced protection to work, that the security APIs will only work up to a point for that type of protection.

This only affects the 64 bit version of the OS, though once the cost of 64 bit processors drop they and 64 bit Windows will be quite common. The fear is hackers could break through Microsoft's PatchGuard system while not giving rival security companies access to do something about it.  Microsoft says that its own security programs uses the same APIs and also do not have access to the kernel.  In fact, Microsoft says, if the kernel was compromised the operating system would shut down as in Blue Screen of Death shut down.  The unanswered question is "and then what?"  That should go over really big when a virus hits a major corporation running Windows Vista.

There are more details in BetaNews.

October 17, 2006 | Permalink


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