By Matt Hines
September 18, 2006
Microsoft has added another high-profile IT threat researcher to its
growing security team, this time luring Jimmy Kuo, a research fellow
at anti-virus software maker McAfee's AVERT Labs.
According to multiple sources within the anti-virus community, Kuo has
resigned from his longtime position at the anti-virus software maker
to take on a new job at Microsoft. Kuo, who has been working in
McAfee's AVERT (AntiVirus and Vulnerability Emergency Response Team)
Labs since the outfit was started in 1995, will reportedly serve as an
anti-virus "guru-at-large" at Microsoft, which is rapidly expanding
its security software business.
McAfee officials confirmed that Kuo is no longer with the company.
Microsoft officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment
on the matter. Attempts to reach Kuo directly via e-mail were
The hiring away of Kuo from Santa Clara, Calif.-based McAfee
represents the second major personnel defection from the security
software maker to Microsoft in just the last month alone. In
mid-August, Microsoft announced that it had hired veteran virus-hunter
Vincent "Vinny" Gullotto to head up a new Security Research and
Response team, a move that some believe lends instant credibility to
the software maker's push into the Internet security market.
Kuo, who is credited by McAfee for discovering the destructive Melissa
virus in 1999, is considered by some to be a more significant hiring
on the part of Microsoft than even Gullotto. In a news release
celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its AVERT Labs in 2005, McAfee
highlighted Kuo as one of its top security experts, and the researcher
was awarded the Fed 100 Award for his work on the Melissa virus. He
also serves as a police reserve specialist for the Hillsboro, Ore.,
In addition to his well-publicized work at McAfee, Kuo is involved
with several influential industry groups, most notably the Computer
Antivirus Research Organization, an informal group of experts working
together since 1990 to study malware in both the corporate and
Described by at least one other security specialist as an "old-school
researcher," Kuo is also a participant in the European Institute of
Computer Anti-virus, another high-profile organization in the malware
intelligence community, which was launched by a number of the
participants in CARO.
Few specific details appear to be known regarding the scope of Kuo's
new role at Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Wash. For his part,
Gullotto, an anti-virus ace who served stints at McAfee and security
market leader Symantec, is serving as general manager of the company's
new Security Research and Response operation.
eWEEK Senior Writer Ryan Naraine contributed to this report.
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