Microsoft steps up security with new program

Meredith B. Derby, assistant news editor

Microsoft's Strategic Technology Protection Program promises to help Microsoft customers bring their system security up to date. Once current, Microsoft pledges customers will then be able to keep their systems secure through resources provided by the company.

The Strategic Technology Protection Program, announced Oct. 3, consists of two phases, one designed to help users achieve complete security and the other to help systems stay secure, said Steve Lipner, Microsoft's director of security assurance. "Our goal is to provide customers with the software and tools that they need to protect themselves and make the tools as easy-to-use as possible," he said.

Phase one is called "Get secure." Included in this phase are free virus support via a toll-free hotline and an online Security Tool Kit. Service packs and hot fixes for Windows NT and 2000 and other security tools are available in the kit. The tools in the kit "have been effective in terms of blocking attacks, even if those attacks took advantage of vulnerabilities that weren't patched," Lipner said.

An Internet Information Server (IIS) lockdown tool, a Security Tool Kit, free virus support, and a URL scan are also available in the kit. These tools "get customers' systems to a good state to start with," said Lipner.

"Stay secure" is the moniker for phase two of the program, which will offer Windows Update and security hot fixes by the end of this year. Also, the Secure Windows Initiative

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(SWI) will be expanded to improve security. Microsoft will make the next version of IIS locked down by default and include a tool to help customers customize IIS to meet their needs, said Lipner.

Microsoft encourages customers to use Windows Update and use as news sources to stay current with security issues, Lipner concluded.

The free Security Tool Kit will be available on CD on October 15, Lipner said. Further Microsoft consulting services are available for a fee.


Got security questions? Visit our Security Discussion Forum for answers.

SearchWindowsManageability has many links to security-related information here.

SearchWebManagement's Microsoft IIS Discussion Forum can help answer your IIS-related questions.

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