Security 2002: For better or worse?

Thursday, 2 January 2003, 3:36 PM EST

Microsoft kicked off the year with a companywide mandate from Chairman Bill Gates to focus efforts on security, privacy and reliability. One part of the plan is the company's Palladium architecture for turning PCs into closed digital devices that can be "trusted" with music, movies and corporate secrets. So far, the only tangible results of the plan have been three delays for .Net Server and $100 million in downtime for the Windows team.

On a national level, cries of cyberterrorist threats pushed the Bush Administration to finally unveil plans for cybersecurity in September. The draft plan, however, was widely criticized as being a water-downed version of a much tougher, original plan.

Internet worms kept systems administrators and corporations on guard this year. The Slapper Linux worm compromised nearly 10,000 servers, by some estimates, forming a peer-to-peer network that could have been potentially used for an attack. And a well-executed attack on domain name system (DNS) root servers reminded the technology community how vulnerable yet resilient the network of networks remains.

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