How Microsoft missed the boat on zero-day threats


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On Jan. 15, 2002, Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates issued a jaw-dropping memo with the subject line "Trustworthy Computing." To stem rising hacker attacks, Gates ordered all Windows development halted and directed his company's full attention to shoring up security.

Microsoft has since poured vast resources into making Windows PCs more secure. And yet the risk of having your PC compromised and your sensitive data used in scams has never been greater, according to a new book, Zero Day Threat: The Shocking Truth of How Banks and Credit Bureaus Help Cyber Crooks Steal Your Money and Identity (Sterling Publishing, 2008), by USA Today technology reporters Byron Acohido and Jon Swartz. The authors point to a confluence of factors increasing the danger: a banking system built for speed; a tech industry enamored with commercializing the Internet; consumers hooked on convenience. In these edited excerpts, Acohido and Swartz convey Gates' acknowledgment of the problem...

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