Symantec and Microsoft bury security hatchet

Symantec and Microsoft bury security hatchet

Summary: Antivirus specialist Symantec has joined a security organisation alongside Microsoft, despite having previously come to very public blows with the software giant over its willingness to share security information on Vista.


Antivirus specialist Symantec has joined a security organisation alongside Microsoft, despite having previously come to very public blows with the software giant over its willingness to share security information on Vista.

Announced at the RSA Conference Europe 2007 on Tuesday, Symantec and Microsoft will join the Software Assurance Forum for Excellence in Code (SafeCode), which claims to be a not-for-profit organisation aimed at increasing trust around IT. Other members include EMC, SAP and Juniper Networks.

Commenting on questions about the recent argument between his company and Microsoft over Vista application programming interfaces (APIs), Ilias Chantzos, Symantec's government relations manager for EMEA, said that the two organisations would co-operate in SafeCode in order to benefit customers.

"We have a multi-faced relationship with Microsoft and we are keen to work with them. That will ultimately benefit our customers. I see this relationship as complimentary rather than competitive," Chantzos said.

Last year, security companies, including Symantec and McAfee, complained that Microsoft had locked them out of the Windows kernel. The security vendors claimed that a kernel shield developed by Microsoft, called "PatchGuard" and intended to stop hackers attacking 64-bit versions of Vista, blocked their security products too.

Microsoft eventually agreed to provide security companies with access to the 64-bit APIs but didn't actually provide access until two months after it had officially relented.

Microsoft had long maintained that a complete lock on the kernel would provide the best operating-system security and stability, but it made concessions in response to antitrust concerns raised by officials in Europe and Korea.

SafeCode is being headed up by cybersecurity expert Paul Kurtz, who was one of the founding members of the Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA) and a former White House National Security Council and Homeland Security Council member under Presidents Bush and Clinton.

Kurtz claimed that the organisation is the first global industry-led body aimed at the development and delivery of more secure and reliable hardware software and services.

"Where are the best practices? Everyone talks about them, but how do you find them? SafeCode is going to bring those best practices into one place so that government, consumers and businesses can make best use of them," said Kurtz.

Kurtz added that SafeCode will be assembling an advisory group of government leaders and critical infrastructure operators from around the world to help with its mission.

The organisation will be funded via a US$50,000 membership fee levied on each of the members, Kurtz added.

"We want to be seen as an organisation that government and industry can turn to and say: 'Can you help us with this?'," said Kurtz.

Andrew Donoghue reported for ZDNet UK from London

Topics: Security, Microsoft, Symantec, Windows

Andrew Donoghue

About Andrew Donoghue

"If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."

Hunter S. Thompson

Andrew Donoghue is a freelance technology and business journalist with over ten years on leading titles such as Computing, SC Magazine, BusinessGreen and

Specialising in sustainable IT and technology in the developing world, he has reported and volunteered on African aid projects, as well as working with charitable organisations such as the UN Foundation and Computer Aid.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


1 comment
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • bury the hatchet article

    We Americans Have An Obligation To

    Bury The Hatchet
    a symbolic gesture
    To Amend Lost Friendship And Ignorance Of Our Republic

    Very Humble Welcome

    Wilma's is not just a Market Place for Purchase of Unusual Gifts

    We must Honor and Unite our Friends and Families to Preserve our Sovereign Constitutional Republic form of Government of WE THE PEOPLE.

    Folks! We need to amend our lost friendship and set ourselves free from the bondage of our society with selecting these precious gifts to bring true meaning and purpose in our lives...


    Because we Americans are the only people of any nation in the world that do not know or understand the form of government that governs our society. You can select the most precious gift of all to become fully informed of our American Sovereignty with---

    The Handbook of Freedom

    Bury the Hatchet. Wilma's Precious Gifts LLC. © 2008
    Gift Boxes | Patriot Box | Handbook of Freedom | Contact bury the