Symantec Hopes To Remake (Tighten) Security

Most security tools will allow just about anything as long as it's not on a black list. Symantec CEO John Thompson thinks it's time for a change. Because exploits are getting worse and worse, Thompson believes we should turn security on its head and only allow things that are specifically outlined in a white list.

While this appears overly restrictive, it might be better to have a locked-down system that actually runs rather than a wide-open machine that's more frozen than a king crab fisherman.

A better idea might be to build virtualization into the OS in very specific ways -- such as isolating e-mail and the Internet from our documents. Of course, this runs completely counter to Microsoft's attempts to integrate everything with the Internet. But isn't that what got us into trouble in the first place?

Speaking of Symantec, my daughter Lauren just went off to college. Milliseconds after connecting to the campus network, her HP laptop began running slower than Kyle Petty with a flat tire. Now that's slow!

I paid for a Norton subscription, so she dutifully ran a Norton scan. After eight hours, it was only a third of the way done. Next, she tried the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal tool and it told her she had an unwelcome visitor -- Backdoor:Win32/Rbot.gen!A! Even though this Trojan was first discovered over three years ago, it managed to slip past Norton's defenses and set up shop. We went back to Norton and it took three full days to complete the scan.

Just shows you how tough it is for even the top dogs to protect our systems. Maybe Lauren will listen next time I offer to buy her an iBook!

Windows Server 2008 a Step Closer
This week, nearly finished code for Windows Server 2008 -- or a release candidate, in Microsoft parlance -- is due to ship. While not a certainty, this makes it a strong possibility that the new server software will actually be available early next year.

Just as important, points out news hound Keith Ward, the first service pack for Vista is expected very, very soon.

The Blue Hats Are Coming! The Blue Hats Are Coming!
Later this week, hackers with good intentions will descend upon Redmond, Wash. and try to break into Windows and other Microsoft products. Microsoft will give back by drilling deep into new security issues such as virtualization, mobile and Office. Good times, good times!

Mailbag: Office's 'Open' Challenger
After IBM unveiled last week its ODF-based suite of Office-like apps -- called Lotus Symphony -- Lafe asked readers if any of them have tried out other alternatives to Microsoft Office. Here's what some of them had to say:

I have used OpenOffice on Windows and Linux for years now. At work, we use Microsoft Office. I have also installed OpenOffice here and use it more often. And at home, I ONLY use OpenOffice (mostly Writer and Calc). One of my favorite features is the ability to export to PDF.

I don't know why this hasn't already taken a huge share of the market from MS. What's not to like? It's free, feature-packed and opens most MS stuff. Go, OpenOffice!

I have been using OpenOffice for a number of years now and I use it every single day along with several open source programs. I have used it in my work and play and I extoll its virtues to anyone in earshot who will listen.

Too many years have I played the endless upgrade game with Microsoft and contributed to its corporate coffers. I am very comfortable with the OpenOffice alternative and am confident that every incompatibility issue will be addressed. I know they will continue to offer all the necessary bells and whistles I might ever consider using. I just cannot say enough good things about it.

Yes, I have been running OpenOffice for most of this year and have only gone back to the Windows stuff when I find a file I didn't port over to my Linux server. There's a slight learning curve but I have really done much better work with graphics in documents; OpenOffice has graphics standard and the results are better than my work with WordPerfect 12.

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About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.


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