Longhorn to Feature Next-Gen Security

Despite speculation that Microsoft had all but put to rest its controversial next-generation security system for Windows, "Palladium" is now set to make its first appearance in a Longhorn preview release at WinHEC 2005 later this month.

Palladium, renamed to the less-ominous sounding Next-Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB), was first announced in 2003 as a marriage of software and hardware technologies. A Trusted Platform Module would reside in the hardware, while the software contained the Trusted Operating Root.

But software and hardware vendors balked at the idea of having to re-write applications to support the new technology - even if it promised better security. At WinHEC 2004, Microsoft admitted the concept was initially not well accepted.

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Now, NGSCB is back and the first pieces are slated for inclusion in the Longhorn client, Microsoft's group vice president for platforms Jim Allchin told reporters this week during a press tour to promote Longhorn.

According to Microsoft Watch, Longhorn will isolate Internet Explorer in its own protected memory space, to keep the operating system safe from what lurks on the Internet. Additionally, Longhorn's startup will be locked down using a Trusted Platform Module.

Allchin told Microsoft Watch the next phase for NGSCB, code-named "Unity," will involve software virtualization to wall off different pieces of an operating system. Microsoft is also working to secure input and output, which includes trusted hardware and graphics.

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