Feb 15th 2005 – Delivering a keynote address at the RSA Conference in San Francisco today, Bill Gates announced the next version of Internet Explorer. Version 7’s main feature appears to be improved security adding to an already ongoing drive to improve the overall security of all MS products. Not much else was disclosed by Gates about this except that a beta will be out this summer.
Speaking on the Internet Explorer blog Dean Hachamovitch stated “This new release will build on the work we did in Windows XP SP2 and (among other things) go further to defend users from phishing as well as deceptive or malicious software.” One of the main negating factors about IE of late has been the plague of phishing attacks and browser hijackings due to malicious software. MS seems to be finally addressing this issue but in the time it’s taken the monolithical organisation to take action, other browsers like FireFox have been converting a good deal of Internet Explorer users.
While some FireFox supporters may be worried over this announcement, it should be taken as an endorsement to the power of FireFox and it’s merry band of developers. Redmond must be worried about the massive uptake of firefox and industry recognition of it’s security features.
Gates also spoke at the RSA event about Microsoft’s Antispyware tool and it’s latest acquisition of Sybari Software Inc., which provides solutions to help protect messaging and collaboration servers from malicious software. Gates stated that MS intends to integrate the Sybari products with the GeCAD technology acquired in 2003 and create a “Microsoft Engine” for virus and malware scanning.
According to Bruce Schneier MS has also been working on a security scanning application that can detect root kits, trojans, key loggers and other malicious software. The application known as Ghostbuster is lauded by Schneier, one of the world’s best security experts, though he laments that it might remain a research only project. MS is spending 1/3 ($2bn) of it’s research budget on security at the moment and these latest announcements are the fruits of it’s endevaours but it still has a long way to go before it can sell itself as being a vendor of secure products.