Gates: security concerns propel IE7 launch

R.A. Hettinga rah at
Wed Feb 16 05:38:00 PST 2005


The Register

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Gates: security concerns propel IE7 launch
By John Leyden (john.leyden at
Published Tuesday 15th February 2005 19:17 GMT

RSA 2005 Information security concerns have prompted Microsoft to release a
new version of Internet Explorer before the next version of Windows ships.
Contrary to previous plans, Microsoft will release IE7 as a beta in "early
summer" 2005. Longhorn, the next iteration of Windows, isdue late next year.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates today said IE7 will offer Windows XP SP2
advances in defending against phishing and malware but failed to go into
any details. IE7 will also be included in Longhorn but its availability on
other platforms remains unclear.

In a keynote address at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, Gates singled
out spyware and social engineering such as phishing and spyware attacks as
the "fastest growing challenge".

"There's no exploit involved," he said. "Social engineering attacks take
the privilege of a user and fool them into running code they don't want to

Microsoft has decided to make its Windows Anti-Spyware, released as a beta
earlier this year and downloaded by 5m users, available at no extra charge
to licensed Windows users, Gates announced. Microsoft also intends to
introduce a consumer-focused anti-virus product by the end of the year.

Gates repeatedly highlighted information security as a "top priority" for
Microsoft. "It's the one thing we need to make sure that we get absolutely
right to deliver the digital revolution," he said. Microsoft is spending
$2bn of its $6bn research and development budget on security.

Windows XP SP2 is a key building block in Microsoft's efforts to make its
software more resistant to attack. More than 170m users have downloaded the
product since its release late last year, Gates said. More users have
applied the update after obtaining it on a CD. To make it easier for
customers to apply patches, Microsoft intends to bring its separate Office
and Windows Update services under one umbrella from March 2005. This
service will be aimed at consumers and small businesses.

Gates appeared relaxed during his 45-minute keynote as RSA, even cracking a
decent joke. He produced a spoofed version of doodles he made at the recent
World Economic Forum, which were mistaken by a UK paper
( for the jottings of
Prime Minister Tony Blair. The spoof notes contained remarks such as "Why
does Bill Clinton sit next to Angelina Jolie?" "Need cheeseburger" (a
reference perhaps to Gates' expanding waistline) and his "password".

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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