Microsoft Scopes Out ‘Real World’ Security Threats

Microsoft is hosting its sixth BlueHat security conference at its Redmond, Wash. campus later this week, giving Microsoft employees a chance to pick the brains of security experts. As such, this is a closed affair for Microsoft staffers only, but what they learn will make its way into all Microsoft products.

This event is called BlueHat v6: The Vuln Behind The Curtain, and runs for two days. One of the main areas of concern will be security around virtualization and process isolation.

Naturally, virtualization is a big concern for Microsoft. With all the rush to virtualize, there hasn’t been much emphasis on security in those environments. VMware is making a fortune virtualizing its operating systems on servers. Microsoft’s response, Viridian, has been delayed for undisclosed reasons.

There will also be talks on Windows Mobile and automated exploit creation, a talk on the DNS pinning design issue that demonstrates how Internet Explorer can turn into a VPN concentrator and a discussion covering Microsoft Office, Binary Instrumentation, Visualization and the Economics of Security.

Andrew Cushman, Microsoft’s director of security outreach, wrote in a blog posting that his goal in running this event is “to expose senior product leaders and front line engineers to the threats and attack tools and methodologies used in the real world” and also “to expose security researchers (and the security community) to Microsoft engineers and business leaders.”

For which Gartner research director Peter Firstbrook says kudos to Microsoft. Microsoft attends more than 30 security events a year, but the focus always seems to be on the company getting embarrassed for something security-related.

“Microsoft, despite all the trashing they take, does reach out better than almost anybody to the security researchers’ community in asking for input and help on how to fix their problems. They set a pretty good example,” he said.

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