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Mozilla taps former Microsoft executive for security strategy

It hopes to stave off online attacks

By Robert McMillan
September 6, 2006 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Mozilla Corp. has hired a former Microsoft Corp. security strategist to help lock down its open-source products against online attacks.

Window Snyder, whose hiring was announced today, worked on Microsoft's security-driven Windows XP Service Pack 2 update. She also had a role in the development of Windows Server 2003.

Snyder will take charge of Mozilla's security strategy, a role previously handled by Mike Schroepfer, vice president of engineering.

"Window has joined MozCorp recently as our new 'chief security something' (that's a working title)," wrote Schroepfer in a blog posting. "She'll be the public voice of Mozilla Corp. on security issues and [help] to drive our long-term security strategy."

With hackers finding new and more sophisticated ways to compromise browser security, browser makers such as Mozilla need to keep pace, said Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner Inc.

And as Mozilla has become more popular, security has become even more important, she said. "The attacks have really been targeted toward the 90% of the population using [Microsoft's Internet Explorer], but as their percentage of the browser population goes up, they have more need for [security]," she said.

Mozilla's Firefox is now used by nearly 13% of Web surfers, according to Web analytics firm OneStat.com. IE has about 86% market share, the company estimates.

At Microsoft, Snyder worked with both security consulting companies and Microsoft product teams, and one researcher gave high marks to Mozilla for the hire, saying it would help the Mozilla team focus more on security.

"She obviously is respected in the security area," said Stefano Zanero, chief technology officer at Secure Network SRL. "She has a lot of connections and a good vision. I'd say she's an excellent pick for a security strategist."

Snyder left Microsoft in 2005 to work as a principal at Matasano Security LLC, a consultancy in New York that has done security testing for Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system.

Stephen Toulouse, security program manager at Microsoft's security response center and a former co-worker of Snyder's, had high marks for the new Mozilla security chief. "Speaking personally, not as a representative of Microsoft, I think anyone who has Window working for them is lucky to have her," he said.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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