[Homestead] Longhorn info
tvoivozd at infionline.net
Thu Sep 9 13:32:38 EDT 2004
While MS has forfeited the huge China and India market, Longhorn (if it
ever is released in its entirety) should enable MS to retain its
position in the U.S. market by improving business security in a manner
consistent with easy access to information by consumers.
Don't know what the hell a USB key is---never used one and probably
don't have one on this computer---may have on on the new laptop.
This story was printed from ZDNN <http://zdnet.com.com/2001-11_2-0.html>,
located at http://www.zdnn.com <http://zdnet.com.com/2001-11_2-0.html>.
*Longhorn to put squeeze on gadgets*
By Ina Fried <mailto:ina.fried at cnet.com>
September 9, 2004, 4:00 AM PT
*SAN FRANCISCO--Windows makes it easy to quickly download files to iPods
and other portable storage devices--a little too easy in the minds of
many IT managers.*
In the next version of Windows, Microsoft will give big companies an
easy way to block use of such devices, while making it easier for
consumers to connect their home systems to them, a company
representative told CNET News.com.
Longhorn, the next version of Windows, will let big companies block
access to iPods and other tiny storage devices in the name of tighter
The new feature should make it harder for employees to grab sensitive
corporate data from business PCs or to introduce malware onto local area
More stories on Longhorn
Much has been made of the security risks posed by portable storage
devices known as USB keys, or flash drives, music players like the iPod,
and other small gadgets that can store vast amounts of data. Some fear
that such tiny devices can be used to quickly copy sensitive data off
business PC hard drives, or to introduce malicious software onto
"It's a real problem," said Padmanand Warrier, a developer in
Microsoft's Windows unit. "That's the feedback we've gotten from IT folks."
To put the new features in place, Microsoft is hoping to move to a
common model for how wired and wireless devices connect to a PC in 2006,
around the time that it releases the next version of Windows, code-named
Longhorn. For consumers, that means that wireless printers, networked
music players and other wireless devices should be able to connect to a
PC as easily as the USB drives today.
Microsoft showed that technology, known as "Plug and Play Extensions,"
at this week's Intel Developer Forum.
Intel Developer Forum 2004
Dual-core chips are a highlight
of the three-day gathering. For
all stories from the event, plus
video, click here.
For businesses, it means regaining some control over portable devices.
"It's not just USB keys," Warrier said, noting that devices can just as
easily link to PCs through Bluetooth short-range wireless or another
By including tools to prevent workers from connecting portable storage
devices to corporate PCs, Microsoft is offering big companies another
option in addition to the outright banning
<http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1105_2-5258588.html?tag=nl> of such devices,
as some government agencies and other high-security installations have done.
"USB keys have become ubiquitous," said, Alan Brill, a senior managing
director at Kroll OnTrack, a technology services firm that does security
consulting. "You can pop them into any computer after Windows 95 and all
the software that's needed is already in there. It's a tool that can be
both used and abused very easily."
Companies have been slow to react to the threat posed by digital storage
devices in general, Brill said.
"It's one that companies have turned a blind eye to for a very long
time," Brill said. "If you think back, it used to be that stealing
significant secrets was difficult because it was hard to get away with
that much paper."
Intel, for example, used to check the bags of employees, but eventually
such searches became impractical. With roughly, 80,000 employees, the
company found it didn't have the resources to prevent against someone
putting files onto a flash drive or iPod, a representative said.
"You take a better approach--you make sure people understand the need to
protect company information and you hold them accountable," the
Market research firm Gartner has advised big companies to disable
certain "plug and play" functions in Windows as a security precaution.
IT managers do have access to tools that would allow them to block USB
ports, but such tools are little-known, and little-used. "There are
tools that are available to...manage USB ports, but 99.9 percent of all
machines in corporations don't have anything like that," Brill said.
*Longhorn in the headlights*
Of course, Microsoft's changes aren't coming until Longhorn, which isn't
scheduled to arrive until 2006, and it is likely to take more time
before the new operating system is widely adopted by companies.
*"(USB keys are) a tool that can be both used and abused very easily." *
--Alan Brill of consulting firm Kroll OnTrack
The moves do shed more light on Microsoft's intentions for Longhorn.
Much of the attention recently has been on Microsoft's decision to pull
a key feature out of Longhorn
<http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1104_2-5327150.html?tag=nl>--a new file
system known as WinFS.
The company's most detailed outline of Longhorn came at a developer
conference last fall, when they spoke of three main pillars--WinFS, a
Web services architecture known as Indigo, and a presentation subsystem
Microsoft is making changes to all three pillars. WinFS will be
available as a beta when the Longhorn release comes out as a client.
Avalon and Indigo will be part of Longhorn, but also made available
separately for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.
Microsoft has also promised improvements in manageability and ease of
use, though the company has not gone into great detail on how those new
features will work.
In an interview last moth, Windows chief Jim Allchin identified a few
version 2.0 of the .Net framework, a new user interface, more resilience
to malware and "a new photo experience."
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