SP2's new firewall: better than nothing, but not good enough

Tuesday, 10 August 2004, 11:23 AM EST

For starters, after installing SP2, users of XP will notice the addition of a security dashboard to Windows' Control Panel known as the Security Center. This simple status report on your system's defenses answers such basic questions as whether your firewall and anti-virus systems are turned on, whether your anti-virus solution is using the most recent signature file, and whether your operating system has received all available critical updates.

Today, Windows will tell us that critical updates are waiting to be downloaded through an indicator that pops up from the Windows tray, or following a "scan for updates" that takes place after Windows Update is manually invoked. Until SP2, users could never go to one central location to get an easily scannable status report on their systems' readiness to deal with the most prevalent threats. Barring any known compatability problems between SP2 and your company's computing infrastructure (like that which has been reported to have occurred at IBM), this feature alone makes SP2 worth the upgrade.

By David Berlind at ZDNet.

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