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McAfee's makes 'inflammatory' Vista claims

Microsoft hits back at security criticism

Microsoft has hit back at security vendor McAfee's claims that it is dragging its feet in co-operating over Windows Vista security.

Siobhan McDermott, McAfee's communications vice-president, said questions pertaining to the software development kit document it received from Microsoft had gone unanswered.

She added: "Contrary to what it says publicly, Microsoft has not co-operated with the leading security providers. In fact, we have not received anything at all from Microsoft concerning PatchGuard. It is not at all acceptable for it to wait until a service pack and not offer us kernel access until after the launch of Vista."

The criticisms come hot on the heels of the software giant's promise to the EC (European Commission) last week to provide the security vendors access to the Vista kernel.

But Microsoft hit back, dismissing McAfee's comments as "inaccurate and inflammatory", pointing to the "months ahead" for the development and readiness of necessary software.

Clive Longbottom, senior director of analyst firm Quocirca, dismissed McAfee's criticisms as media opportunism, saying the security companies would have enough time to get up to speed. "It isn't a major issue at this point because companies aren't looking at implementing Vista," Longbottom told PC Advisor's sister title Techworld. "They will be reviewing it on systems that don't touch the internet to work out its potential impact on productivity, change management and training.

"They will also possibly be reviewing its security and talking to their incumbent providers. The security vendors can be up and running with Vista-ready packages within a couple of months of getting the information they need."

Longbottom added that businesses will get Vista next month, while consumers will wait until the new year when these problems should be ironed out. "Microsoft's stuck between a rock and hard place," he added. "Although the security of Vista has been an area that has held it back, it's damned if it releases a system with holes in and has to produce patches soon after, and it's damned if it doesn't and waits."

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