Microsoft hammers Windows security kit

As part of a push to regain the public trust, Microsoft plans to release a wizardlike program to help home software users and network administrators protect their computer systems from outside attack.

Thanks Sleeper for sending us this. Called the Baseline Security Advisor, the program will scan Windows computers for unpatched programs, weak passwords and vulnerabilities in the operating system and in several Microsoft products.

"Our goal is to allow (home) users to check their own machines," said Jason Shaw, lead product manager for Microsoft. "Company administrators can also use it to check their entire network."

Although Microsoft has not yet released the product, the software titan showed off an early version of the scanner at its booth at the RSA Conference 2002 here. Shaw said the program will be available for free download from Microsoft's Web site in March.

The scanner is the latest move by the software giant to beef up Windows security. Microsoft was stung by a series of embarrassing flaws in 2001 that demonstrated how vulnerable some of the company's products were to outside attack. In mid-January, Chairman Bill Gates wrote a memo exhorting the company's employees to smack bugs to earn customers' trust in Microsoft software.

While other companies have come out with scanners, none has the reach of Microsoft. Many other scanners are also designed to sniff out vulnerabilities in other software.

News source: ZDNet News

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