Bill Gates opened this year's RSA Conference this year by
outlining some of the goals Microsoft wishes to achieve in terms of security
over the next few years. Highlighting improved security features that will ship
with Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 7, Gates explained
that a combination of transparency, simplicity and next generation 'smart
cards' will lead the way in secure personal identification.
"It is a very big challenge to make sure that security is not the thing holding
us back," Gates said. "The Internet is such a critical infrastructure for
productivity, for reliability, for privacy that the dream we have can only be
realized if we not only build secure approaches but make them easy to
administer and make it so the users understand exactly what to expect. That
means a lot of invention and a lot of improvement from where we are today."
Gates later said that Microsoft's security vision for the future "...is to create a world where there is greater
trust - where people and organizations can use a range of devices to be
more reliably and securely connected to the information, services and
people that matter most to them."
The keynote address included a demonstration of Microsoft's new 'password
replacement' InfoCard system, which allowed the presenter access to a fake car
rental site by simply choosing an identity from a list of names. Slated for
launch and multiple platform support later this year, Microsoft's InfoCard system will allow users to carry
their digital ID around much like a wallet, allowing access to computers and
protected information areas on demand. Gates referred to current password
systems as "the weak link" in creating a simple and secure
environment for users to function in.