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Microsoft fails to use its own security product

Firewall and virtual private network hardware and software maker NetScreen Technologies has announced it had acquired a major customer - Microsoft.

Microsoft's SQL Labs, the part of the company that works on Microsoft's SQL Server, is using NetScreen's 500-series security appliance to defend its network against Code Red, Nimda and other worm attacks, according to NetScreen.

The Labs' choice was made despite the fact that Microsoft already sells its own security product touted as a defence against worms.

The Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server was introduced in early 2001 and was hailed by the company as Microsoft's first product aimed entirely at the security market. ISA Server offers such features as an "enterprise-class" firewall and a Web cache.

The selection of a third-party product to protect a Microsoft network is especially ironic because of the content of a Web page posted to Microsoft's ISA Server Web site in mid-June. It advised businesses to switch to an ISA server because "an enterprise firewall and secure application gateway designed to protect the enterprise network from hacker intrusion and malicious worms".

The NetScreen-500 allowed Microsoft's SQL Labs to "quickly... eradicate the [Nimda] viruses from our labs and identify infected machines outside the lab so we could notify them and effectively stop the spread", said Mark Jackson, SQL network engineer at Microsoft's SQL Labs.

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