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Trustworthy Computing does Moon Walk (but not yet)

One small step for man, one giant leap for Windows XP

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Microsoft's Chief Security Strategist today compared the company's Trustworthy Computing initiative to the race to put the first man on the Moon.

Speaking at the UK first e-crime conference in London, Scott Charney raised eyebrows by comparing Microsoft's attempts to develop more secure products with NASA's Apollo Moon landing programme.

"I'd equate our Trustworthy Computing programme to Kennedy's pledge at the beginning of the Sixties to go to send a man to the Moon. Both are going to take quite a bit of time," he told delegates.

Responding to a question on the roles of government and private industry in promoting Net security, Charney said the industry as a whole must do more to deliver secure products and services. In a candid assessment he outlined the many steps MS needs to take to deliver on Bill Gates' Trustworthy Computing initiative.

"We need to look at the underlying protocols as well as actual products. It could take years," he said.

"A lot of fundamental work needs to be carried out in protocols, mechanisms, Public Key Infrastructures and security usability."

Making parallels between Trustworthy Computing and one of America's most expensive projects could be considered by some as hubris, but we liked Charney's candour. Unusually for someone in any software vendor, Charney has an extensive security background.

Charney joined Microsoft after a stint as a security consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Prior to joining PWC, Charney served as the chief of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, Criminal Division, at the US Department of Justice, from 1991 to 1999. ®

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