Microsoft launched a new initiative Wednesday to keep government agencies in the loop when it's dealing with security problems. The program is meant to ease governments' concerns over the steady stream of vulnerabilities and attacks associated with the software giant's products.
"The Digital Age creates some unique challenges for governments to help secure their computing environments," Gerri Elliott, corporate vice president for the worldwide public sector at Microsoft, said in a statement. "By taking a collaborative approach with global governments, we can bring to bear the combined expertise from public and private sectors and enable governments to better prepare, manage and mitigate the impact of security incidents."
Chairman Bill Gates unveiled at Microsoft's Government Leaders' Forum in Prague. The software giant said the Security Cooperation Program (SCP) offers the company and government agencies "a structured way" to "engage in cooperative security activities in the areas of computer incident response, attack mitigation and citizen outreach."
"The goal of the SCP is to help governments address threats to national security, economic strength and public safety more efficiently and effectively through cooperative projects and information sharing," Microsoft said in its statement. "This program launches with global support that includes Canada's Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Chile's Ministry of the Interior, the Norwegian National Security Authority, and the state of Delaware Department of Technology and Information."
These agencies will exchange information with Microsoft that can be used to "better anticipate, help prevent, respond to and mitigate the effects of information technology (IT) security attacks," the company added.
Data to be exchanged will include:
- Information on publicly known and reported vulnerabilities Microsoft is investigating;
- Information about upcoming and released software updates to aid resource planning and deployment;
- Security incident metrics; and
- Incident information in the event of a critical incident or emergency.
SCP is designed to complement the software giant's Government Security Program (GSP), where governments and agencies can review Microsoft's secret source code for Windows operating systems and evaluate for themselves the software's security sturdiness.