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by Mike Zazaian October 2, 2006 - 7:13pm, 2 Comments

Security Companties Attack Microsoft Over Vista Kernel Lockdown

PC Security Giant McAfee is on the full offensive against Microsoft citing a controversial decision to keep code for the Windows Vista kernel a secret.

McAfee, Symantec, and a slew of other PC security companies claim that protecting against viruses and other malware will be more difficult in Vista because Microsoft has chosen not to grant access to the operating system’s core. In response to the kernel lockdown McAfee launched a full page ad in today’s Financial Times, stating:

Microsoft is being completely unrealistic if, by locking security companies out of the kernel (core), it thinks hackers won’t crack Vista’s kernel. In fact, they already have.

In addition to denying access to the kernel, Microsoft is also blocking a number of non-Microsoft processes from running on Vista. And while Microsoft claims that these measures are being taken to protect users from future spyware and malware, Symantec believes the actions denote a move by Microsoft to promote the use of its own security software over that of competitors. According to a passage from a recent article in 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.

In response to the accusations, Microsoft has claimed that the company continues to develop relationships with security companies despite the choice to lock them out of the kernel.

Partners are at the core of Microsoft’s business model. We have worked closely with our security partners throughout the development of Windows Vista, and continue to do so, said a spokesperson for Microsoft. Security company TrendMicro already has a beta version of Vista security software available, but this may be an indication of Microsoft playing favorites in return for a substantial piece of its security pie. Either way, no security companies have yet filed grievances against Microsoft, nor has the European Commission, which has been quicker than most to accuse Microsoft of potentially monopolistic practices.

[via DailyTech]