• United States



by Paul Kerstein

Microsoft Sets Roadmap for Corporate Malware Software

Oct 07, 20053 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

Microsoft Thursday unveiled its first antivirus, antispyware softwaredesigned for corporate networks, which will go into beta by year-endand ship in 2006.

The product was introduced by CEO Steve Ballmer Client Protectionduring a presentation in Munich, Germany. It is currently being calledMicrosoft Client Protection, but will be renamed before final release.Client Protection will protect desktops, laptops and basic Windows fileservers from viruses, spyware and other malware, including rootkits. Itwill compete directly with similar security tools from the likes ofSymantec and McAfee.

Client Protection is a combination of software Microsoft acquired fromthe purchase of anti-virus vendor GeCAD in June 2003 and from thepurchase in December 2004 of Giant Company Software, which developsanti-spyware software.

“Over time, customers want fewer security products to manage so we aretaking this approach of unified protection, something we will build onover time,” says Paul Bryan, director of product management inMicrosoft’s enterprise access and security products division.

In terms of malware products, Microsoft now has Client Protection, theAntigen lineup of security products acquired from Sybari, an onlineservice for small and midsized businesses called OneCare and the hostedservice from its acquisition of Frontbridge in July.

Client Protection is made up of agents that run on each client and acentralized server management console. Microsoft has tied the softwareinto Active Directory and it’s Group Policy technology for centralizedmanagement of desktop configuration, which will allow administrators toset policies for use including how the interface looks to each user andhow to handle malicious software.

Microsoft may possibly release Client Protection under its SystemCenter brand name, which includes System Management Server (SMS) andMicrosoft Operations Manager (MOM). Client Protection includesreporting and alerting technology that is used in MOM and willintegrate with SMS to distribute software and with the online serviceMicrosoft Update, to deliver virus signatures, which will be producedby Microsoft.

“We are working through the final naming, but System Center is in consideration,” says Bryan.

He also said that while Client Protection will cover basic fileservers, Microsoft’s Antigen product line would be used to protectadvanced file servers, such as SharePoint Team Services, and includesuch features as content filtering. Microsoft also announced onThursday plans to release Microsoft Antigen anti-virus and anti-spamsecurity software for messaging and collaboration servers. First up isMicrosoft Antigen for Exchange, which is slated to go into beta in thefirst half of 2006.

The current Antigen product line works with Exchange messaging server,as well as Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Windows SharePointServices and Live Communications Server 2005.

Microsoft also will add at no-cost for current users its own virusscanning engine based on the GeCAD software to Antigen, which now usesscanning engines from CA, Norman Data Defense, Kaspersky Labs, Sophosand others.

Client Protection supports Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2000 SP4 on theclient side. On the server side, it supports Windows 2003 SP1 and aboveand Windows 2000 SP4. Pricing has not been announced.

In addition to the product announcements, Microsoft also unveiled theSecureIT Alliance, a group of partners working together on security forthe Microsoft platform. The partnerships are an extension ofpartnerships Microsoft has with the Virus Information Alliance and theGlobal Infrastructure Alliance for Internet Safety.

By John Fontana – Network World (US online)