Tech Giants Declare, 'United We Stand'
Monday, October 18, 2004; 9:29 AM
Case in point is this morning's news that Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. are collaborating on computer security issues. The alliance hammers home the increasing realization in tech circles that the Lone Ranger approach to computer security just won't work, and with lots of money in lost sales, worker productivity and fried hardware at stake, it just makes sense to work together.
The Associated Press noted the obvious about the two new partners: Cisco and Microsoft have both been hit hard by security problems. "Microsoft's Windows operating system and server software have been particularly hard hit, with attackers using flaws in its products to launch assaults that have slowed or crippled some of Microsoft's biggest corporate clients. In response, Microsoft has begun an initiative to improve the security of its products and recently released a massive security fix for its Windows XP operating system. Cisco also has been a target. In a high-profile incident in July 2003, the networking equipment maker was hit by hackers who attempted to bring down Cisco equipment that carries the bulk of the world's Internet traffic. Many companies were forced to work quickly to install a patch or find other solutions."
The Associated Press via The Seattle Post-Intelligencer: Microsoft and Cisco Team Up On Security
The Journal said the two companies "would share technical details, integrate their technologies, and push for industrywide standards. There are no deadlines or timetables. Still, the companies 'understand that collaboration is key to addressing and minimizing' threats from worms and viruses, said Bob Kelly, general manager of Microsoft's Windows Server group."
The Wall Street Journal: Cisco and Microsoft to Cooperate On Computer-Security Issues (Subscription required)
CNET's News.com explained that the partnership "will allow them to share technology and integrate security features on Cisco's networking gear and Microsoft's server and desktop products. Earlier this year, each of the companies introduced its own 'end to end' security architecture. Unfortunately for customers, the proposed architectures were not interoperable. Because the companies had not officially pledged they would work together, customers feared they would be forced to choose between a Cisco implementation or one from Microsoft. But now, the companies say that customers will not be forced into a tough either/or decision." More from the article: "The Cisco and Microsoft architectures are part of a new movement in information technology that treats security more holistically. As the cost of fighting and cleaning up after worms and viruses mounts, corporate customers are looking for solutions that combine traditional virus scanning with network policing to keep attacks from ever entering the network in the first place. As a result, both the Cisco and Microsoft approaches are concerned not only with scanning for viruses but also with policing networks to deny connections to machines that don't conform with security policies."
CNET's News.com: Cisco, Microsoft Pledge Security Interoperability
Cisco and Microsoft were both part of a conference on information security in New Delhi last week, sponsored by India's National Association of Software and Service Companies and the U.S. high-tech trade group, the Information Technology Association of America.
The Associated Press via The San Jose Mercury News: India, U.S. Experts Discuss Cybersecurity Cooperation (Registration required)
Dell Joins Spyware Fight
Dell Inc. is the latest company to sign up for the broader industry fight against spyware. The Texas-based company is partnering with the nonprofit Internet Education Foundation -- a coalition whose members include everyone from AOL to Microsoft to Yahoo -- to educate consumers about the online scourge. "The IEF and Dell released a survey conducted last month of 742 Internet users taken from a representative sample of 1,000 adults nationwide. The survey showed 39% felt less secure online than they did a year ago, while 33% feel more secure, 26% feel the same as they did and 2% were unsure. Mike George, vice president and general manager of Dell's U.S. consumer business, says that since January, more customers have called Dell seeking relief from spyware than any other technical support issue," Dow Jones Newswires reported. There's more info. on the IEF's efforts at getnetwise.org.
Dow Jones Newswires via The Wall Street Journal: Dell to Teach Customers How To Fight Against Spyware (Subscription required)