By David Irvin
August 17, 2006
The head of Microsoft Corp. considers cyberspace a "much more
dangerous place" now than just a few years ago, describing hackers as
"serious bad guys."
In a speech Wednesday, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spoke of the
growing sophistication of hackers whose sole intent is to steal --
money and identities.
"Today's threats are, in some senses, even more severe," Ballmer told
those attending the Air Force Information Technology Conference, which
brings together industry leaders and key decision makers in the
Microsoft and the Air Force do business together. Right now, according
to Ballmer, Microsoft dedicates 50 full-time employees to the Air
Force account, more than any other customer.
Ballmer outlined steps that the software giant is taking to tighten
security with its products and promised that future releases will
"close it down to the bad guys" and "open it up to the good guys."
That's particularly important for the Air Force, which routinely deals
with security-sensitive information, he said.
Ballmer lauded the Air Force for its innovation in computer systems
and emphasized the branch must have the ability to easily expand its
computer system and integrate it with systems used by forces from
In a light-hearted moment, Ballmer referred to criticism that his
company's software is vulnerable to security threats.
He joked that Microsoft had just graduated from the 100-level security
course, "and now it's time for us to go take the 200-level course."
In the past, Microsoft was intent on integrating office programs so
that documents would work together easily. Today, Ballmer said,
Microsoft is trying to take the next step and release products that
help integrate the many ways that people communicate.
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