Thu, May 13, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Microsoft offers a self-test diagnosis on system security

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Microsoft Taiwan Corp announced yesterday that it would provide free online security diagnoses for users of its Windows operating system as a part of the software giant's efforts to improve its virus-vulnerable system.

"We hope to establish a safer network environment via the service, which is more than warding off virus attacks for our users," Eunice Chiu (邱麗孟), general manager of Microsoft Taiwan, told a press conference yesterday.

Individuals and corporate users can go to http://www.microsoft.com/taiwan/security/checklist, where they will be asked 25 questions that will form the basis of a diagnosis on the level of security of their systems, the company said.

After the online self-test diagnosis, those who need to enhance the security of their system can seek help from a team of 23 local IT companies, including Tatung Co (大同), Internet Security Solutions Co (鈺松國際), the Syscom Group (凌群電腦) and Symantec Corp, which provide a variety of solutions including intrusion detection, authentication, anti-virus software and server monitoring.

Microsoft's Windows operating system has been attacked by a number of viruses, most recently the "Sasser" worm, which paralyzed millions of computers worldwide. Variants of Sasser are still causing trouble more than a week after the original was identified.

Jason Chan (詹家琛), a marketing manager of server platform business at Microsoft, acknowledged that the company has been the main target of virus attacks in recent years.

"But we have made big progress in improving security," he said.

Citing a report released in March by Forrester Research, Chan said Microsoft is the only company that fixed all the flaws found in its platform, unlike Red Hat Inc, Debian Systems, Mandrakesoft and Suse, who are the major developers of the open-source Linux operating system.

Chan said the number of security alerts announced by Microsoft had decreased from 43 in 2002 to 38 last year, while Red Hat, Debian and others reported more alerts during the period.

"The problem is, users usually ignore the alerts and don't want to go through the hassle of applying the patches," Chan said. "We'll strengthen education of our users in this aspect."

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