Microsoft Putting Vista Under ‘Black Hat’ Spotlight

Microsoft’s Windows Vista has a date with some of the world’s smartest hackers.

The software maker will use the spotlight of the Black Hat security conference in August to show off some of the key security features and functionality being fitted into Vista.

Microsoft’s appearance on the Black Hat stage is a first on many fronts. Microsoft will be the first software vendor to present an entire Black Hat Briefing track on a pre-release product. It is also the first time a representative from Redmond Wash., will make an official presentation at the controversial hacker confab.

According to Microsoft program manager Stephen Toulouse, the idea is to provide “deeply technical presentations” on Vista security to the hacking community. “We submitted several presentations to the Black Hat event organizers and, based on the technical merit and interest to the audience, they were accepted,” Toulouse said.

In total, the day-long track will include five presentations from Microsoft security engineers and Toulouse said researchers and architects from Redmond will also be actively participating in the event. “We want to make sure we’re gathering as much feedback as we can, so that Windows Vista succeeds as the most secure version of Windows ever released,” he added.

The sessions will include a talk by John Lambert, group manager in Microsoft’s Security Engineering and Communications Group on the security engineering process behind Windows Vista.

Lambert is expected to hold up Vista as the first end-to-end major operating system release in the Trustworthy Computing era from Microsoft. His talk will cover how the Vista engineering process is different from Windows XP and details from what is described as the “largest-commercial-pentest-in-the-world.”

Lambert plans to give Black Hat researchers a sneak peek at some of the new mitigations in Vista that combat memory overwrite vulnerabilities.

Wi-Fi in Vista will also come under the microscope when Noel Anderson, group manager in Microsoft’s wireless networking group, talks about the way the operating system will handle support for 802.11 wireless technologies.

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