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by CSO Contributor

Microsoft Shares Code with Governments; Chicago Surveillance Program to Include Smart Cameras; AOL Teams Up on Authentication Services; Mega-merger Creates World’s Largest IT Security Services Firm

Sep 21, 20043 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Microsoft Shares Code with Governments

In a move that could bolster the security of some Microsoft products, the company has decided to make the source code of certain programs available for inspection by government experts. According to a story in the Washington Post, Microsoft shared some source code of its Windows operating system with 60 governments in 2003. This time around, Microsoft is sharing the code of its flagship Office product. Eric S. Raymond, a Microsoft critic and open-source advocate, told the Post, You can bet they were dragged to this kicking and screaming. Microsoft’s official line has always been that Microsoft Office is the most valuable intellectual property in the world and that they would never disclose it.” According to the story, governments will be allowed to inspect the code, but not modify it (unlike open source). Microsoft is calling the approach “shared source.” Jason Matustow, director of Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative summed it up this way: “Shared source is all about learning from the open-source movement and applying it to our business model.”

For more details, read the full article in the Washington Post.

Chicago Surveillance Program to Include Smart Cameras

Chicago officials plan to install a highly sophisticated surveillance system by 2006 that will make some areas of town the most closely watched locations in thw world. According to a story in The New York Times, police specialists in Chicago already use 2,000 surveillance cameras to spot crime, but the addition of 250 specialized cameras will alert observers to special kinds of activity. Software that works with the cameras can detect suspicious actions (such as loitering or leaving a package behind) and alert police to such activity. “What we’re doing is a totally new concept,” Ron Huberman, executive director of the city’s office of emergency management and communications, told the Times. “This is a very innovative way to harness the power of cameras. It’s going to take us to a whole new level.” The cameras will be installed by the spring of 2006 at a cost of $8.6 million ($5.1 million of which will be a federal grant).

For more details, read the full article in The New York Times.

AOL Teams Up on Authentication Services

AOL and RSA Security plan to announce Tuesday a new program called “AOL PassCOde” that will help AOL customers secure their account information. In a story by IDG News Service, AOL says that the program is the first major rollout of multifactor authentication to consumers. The new system will protect users, according to the story, because scammers will need more than just a user’s name and password to access their AOL account. They will also need a six-digit passcode. AOL customers can sign up for the service through the company’s Web page and pay a $9.95 one-time fee to receive a keychain token by mail. The company will charge $1.95 per month to secure one screen name through PassCode.

For more details, read this IDG News Service story in Network World.

Mega-merger Creates World’s Largest IT Security Services Firm

IT security firms TruSecure and Betrusted will merge and create the largest IT security firm in the world to date, according to a report in The Register. The new company will be called Cybertrust and will have 1,000 employees, 4,000 clients worldwide and $160 million in annual revenue, making it the 10th largest IT security firm in the world and the largest pure-play services firm, according to John Holland, SVP of International Operations at TruSecure.

For more details on the merger, read the full story in The Register.