Microsoft Answers Questions Regarding .NET Services

Today Microsoft published a question and answer essay covering a broad array of information on its .NET Alert Services. Microsoft spinsters dwelled on the advantages the services had to offer especially the potential they offered toward bringing businesses and their customers together in closer relationships. Users can opt to receive financial alerts, reminders, reports on traffic conditions, and even track their success (or lack thereof) in eBay auctions. Some services have already begun to go live while other early adopters will deploy within the next six months.

In all, 19 sites have services in the works that are set to alert users via an integrated web of devices ranging from desktop PCs to mobile phones and handhelds. An explosion of services will go off alongside the launch on Windows XP on October 25th, providing users with a “hands on” glimpse of the .NET experience. Windows Messenger software is not set in stone as a requirement to take advantage of the alerts - email clients ranging from AOL to Lotus Notes and Microsoft's own Outlook. There is one catch for mobile users; MSN Mobile must be supported in order for the services to function.

Formerly known by the moniker "Hailstorm", the technology behind .NET My Services is built upon Internet standards such as XML (eXtensible Markup Language), and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). By using these standards, .NET services can interact with all compatible applications that meet industry guidelines. .NET alerts make up only a single component of a range of proposed services.

Microsoft claims that a minimal amount of user information will be stored on their servers that allow .NET alert services to be delivered, and that it will not, “mine, sell or share any .NET Alerts data.” Authentication information is encrypted through the MD5 protocol.

Even still, this may not be enough to pacify the uncertainty surrounding Web applications. As first reported by BetaNews, security firm WhiteHat Security uncovered a new form of attack that left the personal information, privacy, and security of Web users out in the open and under substantial risk. Critics argue that security is too lax and urge for public disclosure of vulnerabilities as the push toward Web-based services continues on.

For its part Microsoft has enlisted Verisign to provide additional security for sensitive transactions that are conducted through the .NET platform. In addition, competitors such as Sun Microsystems are backing Web services as well, making their role in the future a certainty.

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