Gates: Get Smart About Security

But the Microsoft chair and chief software architect isn't endorsing a virtual open door policy. Rather, security issues are key for the future of the Internet, and Gates is pushing smart cards as tools to improve it. He gave a keynote speech at the NetWorld+Interop 2000 conference here on Tuesday.

"Over 99 percent of security problems are related to the fact that it is difficult to administer (security policy) specifications," Gates said. Most security mistakes revolve around password and policy implementation, he adds. "The answer is moving away from passwords and other ideas."

He called on the industry to produce cheaper and simpler smart cards and biometric security features.

Windows Can Handle New Methods

Windows will be wide open to smart cards. Five vendors plan to build Windows smart cards for network authentication, secure corporate transactions, health care information, electronic cash, and other uses, Microsoft announced in a statement on Tuesday.

Gates also made a reference to the ILOVE YOU virus that has swept the world since Thursday. The virus tested the security systems of companies and people's knowledge of security procedures.

"Recently I've been getting a lot of e-mail that says 'I Love You.' It's just filling up my mailbox. It's like an IQ test--am I going to open it or not?" he said.

Gates also touted Windows Reliability 2000 Online, a free Web-based service where customers can get free work-arounds and troubleshooting tips to resolve problems with Windows. The service, he said, will lead to the elimination of "blue screens," or system crashes.

Gates also announced the availability of Microsoft Windows Services for UNIX 2.0, which now supports Linux. It is designed to let users share files among Windows NT, Windows 2000, and UNIX-based systems via the Network File System protocol.

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