McAfee Inc. has thrown down the gauntlet in its dispute with
Microsoft's decision to lock down the core of their Vista operating system. The
security software vendor has a
full-page ad in today's Financial
Times which berates Microsoft.
McAfee argues that Microsoft is making its upcoming Windows Vista operating
system far more difficult to protect by locking non-Microsoft processes out of
the kernel. Symantec had a similar beef with this move by Microsoft which was reported on recently by Windows IT Pro:
Symantec has also complained about a new security feature
called Kernel PatchGuard that prevents software--malicious or otherwise--from
altering the Windows kernel at runtime. In the past, security companies have
been forced to patch the Windows kernel because so much malicious software does
so as well. That process will not be possible in Windows Vista, which should
make the system more secure. Symantec wants it removed.
Microsoft claims that this will keep Vista more secure by
allowing only certified programs to access vital components of Windows, but
McAfee openly mocks this in its advertisement by challenging:
"Microsoft is being completely unrealistic if, by locking security
companies out of the kernel, it thinks hackers won't crack Vista's kernel. In
fact, they already have."
A Microsoft representative dismissed this accusation, citing a close
relationship with security partners during the development of Windows Vista. On
the other side of the coin, vendor Trend Micro currently has a beta release of their
anti-virus software available for Vista, which may have prompted other
companies to suspect preferential treatment.
A scan of the article was unavailable at the time of this posting.