Let's face it -- Microsoft
has struggled with security, particularly on its operating systems and its Internet Explorer browser. Even as recently as this month, the Conficker virus
was making its way around to Windows-powered machines as security experts scrambled to find a fix. Thus, it makes perfect sense to see Microsoft introducing a dedicated initiative to create a safer, more trusted Internet. Granted, this should've been implemented years ago, but we guess now is better than never.
Labeled "End To End Trust," this vision hopes to create an Internet experience that can be enjoyed without fear of rouge malware and viruses attacking one's PC. At this year's RSA Conference, the company was on hand to discuss progress on the project, which was actually introduced rather quietly last year with obviously not much support. For what it's worth, the outfit did note that over the past twelve months, it has advanced End to End Trust in four critical areas:
- Security and privacy fundamentals
- Creation of a trusted stack with security rooted in hardware
- In-person proofing based on identify claims
- Social, political, economic and IT industry alignment for change.
Scott Charney, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group, issued a call to action for the public -- including those in the IT industry, business and government -- to help further this into something meaningful via dialogue, collaboration and consensus to address cybercrime and help instill trust in the Internet. To quote Mr. Charney: "The Internet has created incredible opportunities for our society such as e-commerce, new social interactions and more efficient government. But, it has also attracted the attention of criminals due to the Internet’s global connectivity, anonymity, lack of traceability and valuable targets of information,” Charney said. “And while we believe the benefits of using the Internet far outweigh the risks, people still need to be safer online than they are today. End to End Trust is Microsoft’s vision for getting there.
We're still skeptical that we'll ever see an Internet that's entirely safe and trustworthy. For as many proponents of shutting down evil software, there are powerful, knowledgable code writers out there just waiting to throw a wrench into these good intentions. And honestly, the only way we could envision a completely safe and sterile Internet experience is to regulate each and every access point, which is completely against the "free and open" nature that has enabled the Internet to thrive as it has. Maybe we're just missing something, but we'd say these efforts are better utilized in informing users how to protect themselves and creating better software that is more resilient to rouge attacks.