Microsoft already has given notice that it will be a formidable business threat to Symantec and McAfee in providing security solutions for consumers and businesses who use Windows-based computers.
Now Microsoft is signaling that it is serious about winning mindshare and technical credibility from the closed society of antivirus researchers and signature developers.
In a development that will discomfit Symantec as much as it will elate Microsoft, eWeek reported this past week that respected virus-hunter Vincent ‘Vinny’ Gullotto has left the former to head Microsoft’s Security Research and Response team, which is mandated to handle all aspects of the software giant’s malware research and response.
Although Gullotto comes to Microsoft from Symantec, he perhaps is best known for his work at McAfee, where he served as vice president of research for McAfee’s Anti-virus and Vulnerability Emergency Response Team (AVERT).
Roger Thompson, chief technical officer at Exploit Prevention Labs, explained the significance of Microsoft’s acquisition of Gullotto as follows:
Much of what gets done in the anti-virus industry is based on personal trust. All the Microsoft anti-virus guys have been newbies, or outsiders. Vinny would be regarded as an insider.
Microsoft becomes increasingly credible in the antivirus world and the larger security community, and Symantec loses a valuable technical contributor.