M$ Launches Security Advisory

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Microsoft has unveiled a new security advisory service to plug the gap between public disclosure of a vulnerability and the availability of a patch.

Dubbed Microsoft Security Advisories, the service is a pilot program begun in response to customer requests, Stephen Toulouse, the program manager of Microsoft Security Research Center (MSRC), said in an interview.

"When we got down to it, in the absence of a bulletin, customers wanted us to provide authoritative guidance on security related topics," Toulouse said.

Microsoft's security advisories--the first two of which were issued Tuesday--will offer early workarounds for vulnerabilities before a patch is ready. "If there was public vulnerability posted, the advisories could be used to provide guidance on workarounds," said Toulouse.

In cases such as those, expect to see the advisories morph into actual bulletins, Toulouse added. "We'd put the advisory up, and when a patch is ready, use it to point to the bulletin," he noted.

The advisories will follow the general format of the existing security bulletins, because feedback for the latter has been positive and users are familiar with the layout. The two advisories rolled out Tuesday, for example, offer subsections titled "Overview" and "Frequently Asked Questions," just as do Microsoft's monthly security bulletins.

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