Microsoft to extend security programme

Security vendors will get more information from Microsoft, in an expanded effort to keep Windows users safe from the latest threats

Microsoft is to extend its Security Response Alliance (MSRA) programme, having admitted that the current programme is "ad hoc".

It will extend its current working relationships with security vendors from monthly exchanges of signatures to more frequent knowledge-sharing.

"Were already sharing samples on an ad-hoc basis and a monthly basis," said Ben Fathi, corporate vice-president of Microsoft's secure technology unit. "We have the opportunity to collect samples from millions of machines. We decided it would be great to share that information with all of our partners," Fathi told ZDNet UK.

Details have yet to be worked out as to the frequency of signature-sharing, but it will be on a daily or weekly basis, according to Stephen Toulouse of the Microsoft Security Response Center.

"MSRA was kind of ad-hoc," Toulouse told ZDNet UK. "We want to make that more systematic. Once an attack has been created, we want to share that information as soon as possible."

Anyone involved in the MRSA programme will join the new programme, tentatively called the Malware Sample Sharing Program. This includes security software vendors and internet service providers. There are currently more than 200 partners in the programme.

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