Microsoft warning over 'untrustworthy' elements of internet

The internet needs to become more trustworthy, according to Microsoft's senior security executive, Scott Charney.

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The internet needs to become more trustworthy, according to Microsoft's senior security executive, Scott Charney.

In a video posted to Microsoft's website ahead of Charney's keynote at next week's RSA security conference, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Trustworthy Computing described how anonymity on the internet is increasingly being exploited by cyber criminals. "We need to push back on anonymity and lack of traceability," he said.

"Because the internet can be anonymous and untraceable, criminals flock to the internet," Charney explained. "Today too many people do not know what software is running on their machine and often they have malware. They often don’t know who they're communicating with, whether an email they've received is spoofed or from some unknown sender even when it appears to come from someone they know. When they visit websites, they don't know if that website is to be trusted or not."

"For all of these reasons we need End-to-End Trust," Charney said.

End-to-End Trust is a security marketing initiative introduced by Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie at last year's RSA conference. Keynoting next Tuesday, Charney is expected to give an update on the initiative, which the company has thusfar billed as an effort to engage industry, consumers and policy makers in a serious discussion of online security problems. His video was posted this week on a revamped version of Microsoft's End-to-End Trust website.

As the world's dominant supplier of software, Microsoft is constantly in the crosshairs of attackers. Even as the company has taken steps to lock down its flagship Windows operating system, hackers have exploited countless flaws in the programs that run on top of it, such as Office and Internet Explorer.

Microsoft would like to give its users a better idea of whether a website or email attachment is trustworthy. But how you identify people on the internet without raising serious privacy concerns? It's a problem that Microsoft hopes to solve first by engaging in discussion.

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