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Security Apps Will Be Able to Tap Vista

While meeting with a bank in Rome, Italy, today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told Reuters the company will disclose key APIs which will enable security software developers like Symantec and McAfee to tie into the kernel in Windows Vista, as well as suppress Microsoft’s own security warnings which could be triggered by installing third-party security software.

The move neatly addresses two sources of complaint about Microsoft’s forthcoming operating systems: complaints that security technologies built into Windows Vista might violate business competition regulations in the European Union, and complaints from security software developers that Windows Vista security model would actually make using Vista more dangerous, rather than safer for consumers.

Ballmer said the information would be disclosed to third-party security vendors today; according to Reuters, Microsoft plans to post the information on a secure Web site.

The information would enable third-party security software developers to suppress warnings issued from Microsoft’s security technologies built into Vista, so the operating system doesn’t identify the third-party security software as a virus, worm, or other form of malware. Third-party developers will also be given access to Vista’s kernel to implement low-level security features; developers have been able to patch the Windows kernel in releases prior to Vista.