Microsoft will beef up product security for feds

REDMOND, Wash.—Microsoft Corp. is raising the ante in the competition to sell
secure operating and messaging systems to the federal government.


Company officials last week said that their client-server messaging and browser
products would meet Level 2 of the Federal Information Processing Standard 140-1 for
cryptographic security, rivaling that of Netscape Communications Corp. products.


At a briefing at Microsoft headquarters, group product manager David Malcolm said he
expected Exchange Server 5.5, Outlook 98 and Internet Explorer to pass certification for
FIPS 140-1, making them suitable for encrypting sensitive but unclassified data.


The FIPS certification from the National Institute of Standards and Technology applies
to the 56-bit version of the federal Data Encryption Standard, Triple DES and the Secure
Hashing Algorithm.


The Defense Message System versions of Exchange and Outlook already support the Defense
Department’s Fortezza standard for message privacy, authentication and
nonrepudiation, Malcolm said.


Exchange Server’s recent Service Pack 1 update also brings it into compliance with
DOD’s DMS 2.0a product versions, adding services such as user directory
synchronization via the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol.


In early 1999, Malcolm said, Microsoft will patch Exchange to comply with DMS 2.0b and
DOD’s Message Security Protocol. How Microsoft will deliver that capability has not
yet been determined, Malcolm said.


Microsoft officials said 85 percent of all DMS seats sold by DMS prime contractor
Lockheed Martin Corp. use Exchange messaging. Not all seats sold have been deployed,
however.


According to Malcolm, DOD has 225,000 DMS Exchange seats deployed. DMS estimates call
for more than 2 million eventual seats.


The three main subcontractors—Microsoft, Lotus Development Corp. and Enterprise
Solutions Ltd. of Westlake Village, Calif.—along with a handful of Track 2 vendors
approved by DOD can provide messaging products for DMS.


So far, the military services have bought many more seats than they are using, Malcolm
said—200,000 in the Army, 200,000 in the Navy and 107,000 in the Air Force.


The Veterans Affairs Department also has installed 38,000 seats, out of a planned
240,000, Malcolm said. 

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