Goodbye 2008- Hello 2009! Over the past year we, the MSRC EcoStrat team and all-up TwC Security have been a lot of places, seen a lot of people, and picked up a lot of t-shirts J. On the road, we work hard to create more opportunities for technical information exchange in strategic ways. One way is by co-sponsoring security conferences in various geographic hotbeds to support the de-mystification of global threats and security threats through education. Another way is by presenting candid talks and having open conversations in order to create channels for productive information exchange on common threats between the security industry, governments and researchers.
Microsoft has been talking about community-based defense for some time now. This week, I want to provide a personal dimension to the campaign, and give an update on recent activities. Curiously, as I started to write this post, a couple of phrases popped up, which despite being somewhat trite, seemed appropriate – "change is constant" and "the more things change the more they stay the same."
You are probably wondering what an EcoStrat guy has to do with security updates and other technical deliverables. Well, I want to take a moment to explain why this makes sense. Before taking on the role of working with the monthly security release team and the MAPP program team, I primarily worked with the partner outreach team, managing ecosystem changes through industry partnerships. The partner outreach team’s goals/focus, within the scope of the EcoStrat team, is to work with industry to establish partnerships and initiatives to protect consumers. One of the most visible results is the MAPP initiative. This is a program that works with the security industry ecosystem to create an effective conduit for inbound and outbound information flow.
As the newest member to the EcoStrat Team, I guess I will start with the basics. I am Adrian Stone. I have now been in the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) almost four years. My current job you ask? I work to make sense of the random and controlled chaos that is the MSRC. If my team and I do our jobs right, we often find nuggets of gold buried in the middle of it all. I have often joked that MSRC is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get from one day to the next:
CanSecWest, in beautiful Vancouver BC, is one of my favorite conferences each year. It’s a cozy little security con that brings together security researchers from all parts of the security ecosystem. Like a PhNeutral or a BlueHat, one never quite knows what to expect out of a CanSecWest, but we do know that Microsoft products and engineers will play a prominent role. We’ll be presenting new security innovations and new tools, we’ll be watching Pwn2Own closely for possible hacks, and we’ll be happy to discuss our industry best practices in the hallway track.
I recently returned from the second iteration of the SOURCE Boston computer security conference, and I must say, it was both an intimate conference of less than 250 folks and a high-caliber gathering. As with other conferences that the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) co-sponsors, we see these forums as opportunities that highlight relevant research and showcase how individual strategies can intersect to offer substantial benefits and positive-sum outcomes.
Hey, Steve here. Just finally settling back in after traveling a bit, meeting up with different parts of the security ecosystem. It was good to get out and see firsthand events like CanSecWest, and most recently Black Hat Amsterdam where I met with security specialists in and around the EU. Now that I am back in the States, I have caught up on my reading. I came across this article about what the US Air Force did to ensure that every computer delivered to them was in a set and secure configuration. This is a great approach and, if you can do it, I highly recommend it because the alternative is to bolt on security at the end, and that is always costly and not fool-proof.
There is, however, a part of the article that is unclear. The article talks about how Microsoft was pressured into releasing special Windows XP versions for only the Air Force and government agencies. This is just not true.