Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Turns 10: What's Next

10 years after Bill Gates famously declared a security emergency within Microsoft, the stakes are much higher. 'TWC Next' will include a focus on cloud services such as Azure.

Windows 8 Upgrade Plans: Exclusive Research
Slideshow: Windows 8 Upgrade Plans: Exclusive Research
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Microsoft is marking the 10th anniversary of Bill Gates' game-changing security memo with a focus on new types of attacks that threaten businesses and individuals who are significantly more wired than when the company's chairman launched his now-famous Trustworthy Computing initiative.

"Today, information and communications technology (ICT) underpins every aspect of our personal and professional lives," said Microsoft chief research and strategy officer Craig Mundie, in an e-mail to employees Thursday.

"While it is indisputable that ICT has transformed for the better how we live, society still confronts some long-standing and evolving challenges," Mundie said. "We must protect the security of the electrical power grid, the global financial system, and the telecommunications system, even as determined and persistent adversaries set their sights on these and other critical infrastructures."

[ Malicious attacks accounted for 40% of disclosed breaches last year. Learn more: Hack Attacks Now Leading Cause Of Data Breaches. ]

Gates fired off his Trustworthy Computing memo to employees on Jan. 15, 2002, amid a series of high-profile attacks on Windows computers and browsers in the form of worms and viruses like Code Red and "Anna Kournikova." Code Red, which used buffer overflows to exploit a weakness in Windows Server's Internet Information Services (IIS), infected more than 300,000 PCs.

The onslaught forced Gates to declare a security emergency within Microsoft, and halt all production while the company's 8,500 software engineers sifted through millions of lines of source code to identify and fix vulnerabilities. The hiatus cost Microsoft $100 million. "If we don't do this, people simply won't be willing--or able--to take advantage of all the other great work we do," Gates said in his memo. "We must lead the industry to a whole new level of Trustworthiness in computing."

To accomplish that, Gates identified three principles that Microsoft products were to be designed around--availability, security, and privacy. In practice, that meant placing security on an equal footing with usability and speed-to-market in Microsoft's development cycles.

"Getting your product to market first and killing Netscape was how you got rich at Microsoft. After the Gates memo came out, having your product have fewer top-class bugs and security vulnerabilities and less patches became as important a criterion for measuring the product managers as making an early shipping date," said Gartner research fellow John Pescatore.

As a result, Microsoft products like Visual Studio and Windows Server gained built-in security features for guarding against vulnerabilities caused by errors like stack overflow and were hardened with architectural changes, such as library randomization and formal Secure Development Lifecycle procedures, and the company made many of its own internal safeguards available to third parties.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Manchester United Suffers Cyberattack
Dark Reading Staff 11/23/2020
As 'Anywhere Work' Evolves, Security Will Be Key Challenge
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  11/23/2020
Cloud Security Startup Lightspin Emerges From Stealth
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  11/24/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-29378
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-29
An issue was discovered on V-SOL V1600D V2.03.69 and V2.03.57, V1600D4L V1.01.49, V1600D-MINI V1.01.48, V1600G1 V2.0.7 and V1.9.7, and V1600G2 V1.1.4 OLT devices. It is possible to elevate the privilege of a CLI user (to full administrative access) by using the password [email protected]#y$z%x6x7q8c9z) for the e...
CVE-2020-29379
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-29
An issue was discovered on V-SOL V1600D4L V1.01.49 and V1600D-MINI V1.01.48 OLT devices. During the process of updating the firmware, the update script starts a telnetd -l /bin/sh process that does not require authentication for TELNET access.
CVE-2020-29380
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-29
An issue was discovered on V-SOL V1600D V2.03.69 and V2.03.57, V1600D4L V1.01.49, V1600D-MINI V1.01.48, V1600G1 V2.0.7 and V1.9.7, and V1600G2 V1.1.4 OLT devices. TELNET is offered by default but SSH is not always available. An attacker can intercept passwords sent in cleartext and conduct a man-in-...
CVE-2020-29381
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-29
An issue was discovered on V-SOL V1600D V2.03.69 and V2.03.57, V1600D4L V1.01.49, V1600D-MINI V1.01.48, V1600G1 V2.0.7 and V1.9.7, and V1600G2 V1.1.4 OLT devices. Command injection can occur in "upload tftp syslog" and "upload tftp configuration" in the CLI via a crafted filename...
CVE-2020-29382
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-29
An issue was discovered on V-SOL V1600D V2.03.69 and V2.03.57, V1600G1 V2.0.7 and V1.9.7, and V1600G2 V1.1.4 OLT devices. A hardcoded RSA private key (specific to V1600D, V1600G1, and V1600G2) is contained in the firmware images.