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Tussle Between Microsoft and Authentium Over ‘Vista Kernel’

Security software developer Authentium has decided not to incorporate Microsoft's 'PatchGuard kernel protection' in its next-generation 'Vista operating system'. Microsoft officials expressed unhappiness on this and said that the non-application of the controversial PatchGuard could create problems for the users of the software.

McAfee and Symantec are some of the security vendors who are urging Microsoft to allow them access to '64-bit Vista's kernel' so that it helps the OS to accept their security products. On the other hand, security vendor Authentium is behaving differently. It is simply bypassing 'PatchGuard' - the mechanism that does not allow software to access the 'Vista kernel'.

The company located in 'Palm Beach Gardens', Fla., claims that it has developed an 'Authentium ESP Enterprise Platform' version that can allow to bypass 'PatchGuard' without upsetting the desktop signals produced by security feature when the 'Vista kernel' is attacked.

'ESP Enterprise' is a 'software development kit' (SDK), which Authentium sells to 'telecommunication carriers' and the 'managed services providers'. This kit offers anti-spyware, virus protection, firewall, data-recovery and transaction security characteristics.
Microsoft said it would include security vendors in creating 'agreed upon hooks' into the kernel. Since the process is likely to take months to complete, Authentium said it couldn't wait that long. Corey O'Donnell, vice president of Authentium, commented that their business was not about standing still. After all, hackers weren't going to allow time.

Authentium in a 'blog' posting argued that allowing kernel access to third-party websites would facilitate future security innovations. If it was not encouraged, it could lead to consumers losing on many things like new improved technologies that could counter upcoming threats and criminal strategies.

If the well-behaved people can gain access to the 'Vista kernel', so can the skilled and resourceful hackers. The present day hackers are sophisticated and well financed. Authentium implores Microsoft not to go independently on security.

Microsoft disagreed to permit any outside developers to outwit its techniques and therefore plans to release a patch to stop Authentium technique. The company further assured that if vulnerability emerged in 'Kernel Patch Protection', it would design a security update within the standard 'Microsoft Security Response Center' process.

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