User concerns prompt Microsoft to rework Next Generation security

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User concerns prompt Microsoft to rework Next Generation security

Cliff Saran
Microsoft has recast the specification of its future security architecture as a result of user concerns about software compatibility.

Next Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB), formerly known as Palladium, is a security architecture that uses hardware and software to isolate software from malicious code.

When it was proposed two years ago, Microsoft said software suppliers and users would have to rework applications to support NGSCB, but Stuart Okin, chief security officer at Microsoft, said, "Customers did not want to rewrite applications."

Originally proposed as a service that applications could use to run highly secure code, Microsoft now plans to use NGSCB to secure any application running on Longhorn, the next version of Windows.

Microsoft is reworking NGSCB to protect applications that run in virtual machines on the Longhorn operating system. "People have said they want [NGSCB] entirely in the operating system to allow secure virtual machines. NGSCB will be a cornerstone of Longhorn," Okin said.

With the new specification, any application that failed would leave other applications running in their own virtual machines unaffected.

Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds said, "The NGSCB capability will now be potentially far more accessible to applications without modification."

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