From RSA 2006: Gates looks to simplicity without passwords

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The path leading to more secure computing is lined in simplicity – and more than one password, Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief executive officer, said today.

Gates, delivering a keynote address to officially open RSA Conference 2006 in San Jose, said simplifying the evolving threat landscape for software developers, IT professionals and end users is one way to ally an industry under fire malware authors – many of whom are increasingly driven by profit.

To that end, Gates said IT pros must use simplified security management, software designers must agree on APIs in order to write less code and end users must utilize integrated security software.

Not surprisingly, the Redmond, Wash.-based computing giant soon plans to become a larger part of the security market with its new OneCare system, set to hit the markets in June for $49.95. The product promises to offer multi-level protection, including a two-way firewall, anti-virus and spyware solutions, and general PC maintenance and file back-ups.

Through demonstrations performed by Microsoft workers, Gates highlighted the need for high-assurance website certificates, in addition to smart cards to authenticate user identity.

"Password systems really won't cut it," Gates told a standing-room only crowd inside the San Jose Civic Auditorium. "(Firms) need to move to multi-factor authentication, and a lot of that will be smart cards."

Attendees also got a peak at Windows Vista's security features, the new operating system expected to soon be released.

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