Microsoft, McAfee trade barbs over Vista security

Microsoft defended its process for disclosing key security information about its upcoming Vista OS on Friday after security vendors complained it's not enough.

Microsoft on Friday defended the process for disclosing key security information about its upcoming Vista operating system after security vendors continued to complain it's too slow and not detailed enough.

LastMonday, Microsoft released APIs (application programming interfaces) to allow other security software to shut down the Security Center management console, the company's own monitoring panel that will be included with the Vista OS.

Symantec and McAfee had complained that the Security Center would confuse consumers who use their software, since their software has its own management console.

After pressure from European regulators, Microsoft also addressed another complaint, regarding Kernel Patch Protection (KPP), a technology that blocks access to the kernel -- the core code in Windows. The feature, on the 64-bit version of Vista, is intended to halt invasive software such as rootkits from burrowing into the OS.

But security companies complained that access to the kernel is necessary for certain security features. Microsoft relented, but said it could be a while before those APIs could be released, due to the complexity of the documentation. Microsoft said the APIs could be released in Service Pack 1 for Vista, but service packs for other versions of Windows took up to a year to come out.

The situation was further exacerbated on Thursday when a scheduled Microsoft conference call with security vendors on KPP failed due to a technical problem. Late Thursday McAfee complained again about Microsoft's response to security vendor issues, with an outside McAfee counsel issuing a statement blasting Microsoft's "hollow assurances."

On Friday, Microsoft returned fire.

"It's unfortunate that McAfee's lawyers are making these kinds of inaccurate and inflammatory statements," Ben Fathi, a Microsoft vice president who deals with security, said in a statement. "We've already taken a number of steps to provide McAfee and our other security partners with the information they need."

Fathi went on to detail Microsoft's e-mail and phone correspondence with McAfee about Security Center last week, writing that Microsoft remains open to answer questions. McAfee officials were unable to immediately comment on Friday.

But McAfee is joined by other security vendors unhappy they will have to wait for the kernel APIs. .

"We've contacted Microsoft to try to get this sorted out," wrote Mikhail Penkovsky, director of sales and marketing for Agnitum, a firewall and network security vendor, on the company's blog. "Microsoft has made a positive decision -- but we don't have the (KPP) API yet to analyze it."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?