Charney tells Congress vulnerabilities are a fact of life

Friday, 25 July 2003, 10:53 AM EST

Microsoft Corp.'s chief security strategist, Scott Charney, told members of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee that a robust security response capability and effective risk management are critical because software vulnerabilities will continue to be unavoidable regardless of the type of operating system used.

Charney appeared before an armed services hearing on cyberterrorism and the risks to national security and Defense Department operations.

His appearance comes nearly a month after the Department of Homeland Security signed an exclusive enterprise contract with Microsoft covering server and desktop software for approximately 140,000 users, and only one week after the company announced a critical security flaw affecting nearly every version of the Windows operating system -- including Windows Server 2003.

News of the deal led some experts to warn that the new homeland security agency had made itself a "hostage" of flawed Microsoft security practices. Others, including Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), expressed concern about the government's reliance on a single vendor for the majority of its software infrastructure -- a situation some have warned could make it easier for hackers and criminals to cause damage to networks and data.

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