The White House just released (at 9 AM Tuesday, March 20) a directive to all Federal CIOs, requiring that all new IT system acquisitions, beginning June 30, 2007, use a common secure configuration and, even more importantly, requiring information technology providers (integrators and software vendors) to certify that the products they deliver operate effectively using these secure configurations. This initiative builds on the pioneering “comply or don’t connect” program of the US Air Force; it applies to both XP and Vista, and comes just in time to impact application developers building applications for Windows Vista, but impacts XP applications as well. No VISTA application will be able to be sold to federal agencies if the application does not run on the secure version (SSLF) of Vista. XP application vendors will also be required to certify that their applications run on the secure configuration of Windows XP. The benefits of this move are enormous: common, secure configurations can help slow bot-net spreading, can radically reduce delays in patching, can stop many attacks directly, and organizations that have made the move report that it actually saves money rather than costs money.
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