Microsoft Outlines New Initiatives in Ongoing Security Efforts To Help Customers

Company Announces Technology Investments to Help Protect Windows Users

Oct 09, 2003, 01:00 ET from Microsoft Corp.

    NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In a speech at Microsoft
 Corp.'s (Nasdaq:   MSFT) inaugural Worldwide Partner Conference, Chief Executive
 Officer Steve Ballmer outlined new initiatives in the company's ongoing
 security efforts designed to address the increasing threats faced by computer
 users around the world. Ballmer announced new programs and technology
 investments to be delivered over the coming months, all of which reflect a
 companywide focus on increasing the security of millions of users and critical
 business systems worldwide. Specific actions will include these:
     -- Improved patch management processes, policies and technologies to help
        customers stay up to date and secure
     -- Global education programs to provide better guidance and tools for
        securing systems
     -- Updates to Microsoft(R) Windows(R) XP and Windows Server(TM) 2003 with
        new safety technologies that will make Windows more resistant to attack
        even if patches do not yet exist or have not been installed
     "Our goal is simple: Get our customers secure and keep them secure,"
 Ballmer said. "Our commitment is to protect our customers from the growing
 wave of criminal attacks."
     (Photo: )
     Ballmer provided the following details:
     Improving the Patch Experience
     Ballmer outlined significant improvements that will help reduce the
 complexity of patch management, including new processes for patch
 distribution. He announced that Microsoft will move to monthly patch releases,
 which will reduce the burden on IT administrators by adding a level of
 increased predictability and manageability. Ballmer also announced that
 Microsoft is extending security patch support for Windows NT(R) Workstation 4
 Service Pack 6a and Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 through June 2004.
     Ballmer highlighted new tools, including Microsoft's free Software Update
 Services 2.0, which will be released in the first half of 2004 and will
 provide a seamless patch, scanning and installation experience for Windows,
 SQL Server(TM), Office, Exchange Server and Visio(R). Similarly, Microsoft has
 committed to consolidating the number of patch installers to two for Windows
 2000-generation products by the first half of 2004, introducing rollback
 capability for all new patches, and reducing downtime by requiring 30 percent
 fewer reboots during deployment in the same time frame.
     Global Education Programs
     Microsoft is responding to the need for more advanced security guidance
 with broad availability of new security seminars and in-depth training courses
 worldwide for its customers. Examples of these education activities include
 the following:
     -- TechNet Security Seminars beginning later this fall at no charge to
     -- Monthly security webcasts beginning in November
     -- New prescriptive guidance in the form of patterns and practices, deeper
        information on how to configure for security, and sharing details on
        how Microsoft secures its own networking infrastructure
     -- A dedicated developer security symposium focused on secure coding
        practices, to be held at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference
        later this month
     Updates to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003
     Ballmer highlighted the need for security innovation, pointing out that
 patches and guidance are only part of the solution, and that as exploits
 become more sophisticated the technology must evolve to become more resilient.
 Ballmer announced Microsoft's new safety technologies designed to enable
 customers to more effectively protect their computers and systems from
 malicious attacks even if patches do not yet exist or have not yet been
 installed. These safety technologies will first ship in Service Pack 2 for
 Windows XP, planned for the first half of 2004, and subsequently in the
 Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2003.
     "Our goal is to enable increased protection and resiliency of systems and
 networks," Ballmer said. "Our highest priority is developing these safety
 technologies for our customers. This is a key area of focus for us."
     These security advancements for Windows XP will focus on protections
 against the four types of attacks that constitute the largest percentage of
 threats:  port-based attacks, e-mail attacks, malicious Web content and buffer
     For Windows Server 2003, the safety technologies will enable
 remote-access-connection client inspection and intranet client inspection to
 help protect corporate networks from potential infections introduced by mobile
 systems. These technologies are expected to be available in the second half of
     Customers interested in learning more should visit .
     About Microsoft
     Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services
 and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company
 offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people
 through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.
     NOTE:  Microsoft, Windows, Windows Server, Windows NT and Visio are either
 registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States
 and/or other countries.
     The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the
 trademarks of their respective owners.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.