In response to earlier Symantec and McAfee complaints and 2 months after a promise to deliver, Microsoft has issued a first draft of programming interfaces for kernel protection features in the 64-bit version of Windows Vista. The software giant believes that to maintain OS security it should not release, and has never before released, something of this importance, but because of antitrust concerns in Europe and Korea, the company had no choice. Microsoft stated that the new Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) will allow extended functionality of Vista's 64-bit kernel.
Security companies have unregulated access in 32-bit versions. Nonetheless, in the 64-bit version of Vista PatchGuard protects the user from hackers. Security companies, however, insist that it blocks them out as well. Although the APIs are available to nonsecurity makers, Microsoft persists that the protection offered by PatchGuard will not be disabled or weakened by the APIs. So far, Symantec has acknowledged they have received the APIs but do not have an opinion while McAfee seems pleased with Microsoft's effort. Final versions of the APIs are slated to be released with SP1 for Windows Vista, which Gartner expects in early 2008.
News source: c|net's News.com