Microsoft Talks Windows 2000 Security at RSA

Today at the RSA Conference 2000 in San Jose, Microsoft Corp. announced that it has joined Cisco Systems Inc.'s ( Security Associate Program, and that ValiCert Inc.’s ( Global VA Service technology will be embedded into Windows 2000.

The objective of the Cisco Security Associate Program is to ease deployment for customers of third-party security products by fully testing and verifying them for complete interoperation with Cisco Secure offerings.

"We designed Windows 2000 with security as a key development goal, and we believe that it will be the most secure operating system that Microsoft has ever shipped," said Brian Valentine, senior vice president of the Windows Division at Microsoft, in a statement.

Microsoft and Cisco have previously partnered to advance network security, jointly developing the IP Security Protocol (IPSec) implementation for Windows 2000 and Cisco IOS Software, to ensure full standards-based interoperability. In addition, Microsoft and Cisco have worked closely to integrate support for the Simple Certificate Enrollment Protocol (SCEP) into Microsoft's Certificate Server, making it interoperable with Cisco's certificate-enabled security solutions. Using SCEP, organizations can take advantage of advanced certificate services optionally available in the Windows 2000 Resource Kit to enroll routers using Cisco IOS Software.

At the conference, Microsoft also announced that Windows 2000 will ship with ValiCert's Global VA Service root keys embedded into the new operating system. Already included with Internet Explorer 5.01, ValiCert's root keys let any validation-aware application using the Microsoft Certificate Store or built using the Microsoft Crypto Crypto API automatically trust all the certificate validation responses it gets back from the ValiCert Global VA Service by using the keys to verify the ValiCert digital signature on each response. This makes Internet Explorer, Outlook, Outlook Express and other Windows applications more secure for e-business transactions. The ValiCert root keys are the only ones embedded in Windows 2000 that do not belong to a certificate issuing authority, giving certificate validation equal status as a trusted third-party security service.

Microsoft’s Valentine says his company embedded this technology into Windows 2000 because certificate validation is a critical requirement to ensure trust in e-business transactions. Thomas Sullivan

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Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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