PC Makers Seize the Reins of XP SP2 SecurityBy Channel Insider Staff | Print
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Service Pack 2 alone still doesn't provide enough security for users, PC makers have decided. So, they're complementing and replacing SP2 features with a variety of solutions.While they are bullish about Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2), PC makers aren't putting all of their security eggs in the Microsoft basket.
PC vendors are well on their way toward getting SP2, Microsoft Corp.'s most recent operating-system update, preloaded on all of their new machines. But many PC vendors are complementingand in some cases replacingSP2 features with third-party products.
Take Hewlett-Packard Co., for instance. HP is currently preloading SP2 on its Pavilion and Compaq Presario lines, as well as on its HP Media Center PCs (which run the Windows XP Media Center Edition variant of SP2).
The Norton Security Center is a utility that allows users to monitor the status of their anti-virus, firewall and Windows Automatic Update components. It parallels almost feature-for-feature the Windows Security Center that Microsoft has built into Windows XP SP2.
While Microsoft has said SP2 provides customers with a first line of defense against attacks, worms and spyware, the company has advised customers to continue to use third-party anti-virus, firewall and other software to which they are accustomed to further secure their PCs.
HP is preloading the Norton Personal Firewall because it is a "much more feature-rich product" than the Windows Firewall that Microsoft includes for free as part of Windows XP SP2, Ozaki said. The Symantec firewall blocks outbound traffic, whereas the Windows firewall blocks only inbound traffic, she added.
At the same time, HP is going to the trouble of removing the Windows Security Center and replacing it with the Norton Security Center because the Symantec product is easier to use, she said.
With Symantec's offering, "If an antivirus product is not on or up-to-date, you can easily check and turn it on," Ozaki said. "With the Windows environment, it's more difficult."
Microsoft released Windows XP SP2 to manufacturing on Aug. 6. The company began pushing the SP2 upgrade to users via Automatic Update/Windows Update in mid-August. And retailers such as Amazon.com, Best Buy and Circuit City began carrying SP2 in early October.