REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 16, 2005 – Security360, a Microsoft-sponsored webcast series that provides IT professionals a forum for computer network security issues and guidance, begins its third season on Tuesday, Sept. 20, with a program focusing on malicious software, or “malware.” On the webcast, a panel of industry experts will provide insights into the evolving world of computer viruses and malicious software and offer suggestions and recommendations to help organizations take proactive steps to protect their computer networks.
“Because of the constantly changing nature of security threats, technical decision makers and IT professionals face an ongoing challenge as they protect their computing environments from attack,” says Mike Nash, host of the Security360 webcasts and corporate vice president of the Security Business and Technology Unit at Microsoft. “The Security360 webcasts give customers an opportunity to stay informed about industry-wide security issues and offer valuable guidance about how to make their systems more secure.”
Mike Nash, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Security Business & Technology Unit
Growing Audience for Webcast Series
Each month, the hour-long Security360 webcast provides information and viewpoints for executives and IT security decision-makers in an informal, talk-show-like format. Customers, partners, analysts and industry leaders from within and without Microsoft address each month’s security topic by providing prescriptive guidance and sharing best practices. The show offers updates on Microsoft’s IT security activities, a checklist of next steps, and real-time answers to viewer’s questions.
Over 34,000 viewers tuned in for the webcasts during the series’ 2004-05 season, with a steady increase of repeat viewers over the previous, inaugural year. In a recent survey, over 65 percent of viewers identify themselves as executives and decision-makers, and over a quarter of viewers are outside North America. Over 80 percent of viewers polled indicate that they “learn something new each show,” a number that Nash finds very encouraging.
“In response to the security challenges that our customers face, we created the monthly webcast series to focus on the topics that make a real difference for the security and smooth operation of organizations,” says Nash. “Security360 is designed to provide valuable information for decision makers as well as IT pros, and to help them understand the issues and get the guidance they need. It’s great news that this audience finds the show educational.”
Security360 is currently webcast live (9 – 10 a.m. Pacific time) the third Tuesday of each month and is also available on-demand at www.microsoft.com/security360.
September’s Topic: An Evolving Threat from Malware
This season’s first webcast, airing live on Sept. 20, 2005, 9 – 10 a.m. Pacific time, and available afterward on demand, will explore emerging types of malicious software that have advanced far beyond traditional viruses. Nash and industry experts will offer guidance to help enterprise customers better protect their organization from these emerging threats. Experts scheduled to be featured in the Sept. 20 show include Susan Bradley, independent security consultant and Microsoft Security MVP; David Endler, director of Security Research, Tipping Point; Adam Overton, a Microsoft group program manager; Natalie Lambert, analyst at Forrester Research, and David Litchfield, managing director and chief research scientist, NGSSoftware.
“Malware continues to evolve and change, making it one of the most challenging problems faced by computer security professionals,” says Nash. “The good news is that the industry has made great strides in its efforts to combat and prevent malicious software attacks, though it is an area that requires constant vigilance.”
The nature of the threat from malware has changed greatly in recent years, with hackers growing more sophisticated and with motivations often driven by criminal intent. Spyware, key loggers, and emerging threats such as bots (a word derived from robots, referring to programs that install themselves on networked computers and do the bidding of outside agents) represent ongoing challenges for IT administrators and customers who want to keep ahead of the hackers.
Fortunately, Microsoft and the computer industry in general have worked effectively to address the new challenges posed by this more powerful and intrusive malware.
“While the threat environment has progressed over the last few years, the relationship between Microsoft, its industry partners and the researcher community has evolved with it,” says Nash. “As threats become more sophisticated, Microsoft and researchers alike continue to partner together to help protect customers.”
Microsoft provides a variety of anti-malware tools and guidance services, many of which are available at no charge. Microsoft Update Service offers no-charge patch management features that deliver the latest security updates automatically. Keeping up-to-date with the latest versions of software is an important way to prevent intrusions from malicious software, Nash notes. “Microsoft works to incorporate the latest understanding of security threats and trends into its product development to provide customers with high quality software that is meticulously engineered and rigorously tested to help withstand malicious attack,” says Nash.
Nash urges corporate executives to tune into Security360 webcasts for the latest information. “One of the most important defenses against malicious software is keeping informed and vigilant. The webcast will provide detailed information and guidance on what customers can do to ensure that they are out ahead of the malware threat,” says Nash.