<font size="3">Beefed-up firewall, new version of Update for XP SP2</font>
The nature of the mysterious components of the 'security update' to ship with Windows XP Service Pack 2 is becoming clearer, and SP2 itself could be becoming nearer. Steve Ballmer told us approximately what the update was supposed to do, but not how, in his security manifesto last week, but Paul Thurrott has some specifics, the most important being that the update to the built-in firewall will include features from Microsoft Internet Security & Acceleration Server, including outbound scanning capabilities.
ISA Server itself has an update in beta, but you can get an idea of the differences between it and the current XP Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) from here. Note that the two are described as complementing one another, but that's more a case of Microsoft product positioning for the business market, and clearly doesn't apply elsewhere. Note also that Microsoft categorises ICF as "limited baseline protection for a home or small business network," i.e. as it shipped in XP it was never seriously intended to do front line firewalling on its own.
Recent events however have changed the situation, and Microsoft is in the unusual position of being on the point of integrating something that there's a genuine need for. In addition, the firewall will ship with on being the default, and if the updating system isn't also on by default in this rev, it surely won't be much longer before it is. These changes will be accepted, possibly even applauded, although previously they'd have been categorised as predatory control-freakery.
Rest of Story :www.theregister.co.uk