Rich Kaplan, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Security Business & Technology Unit, said Windows XP SP2 will do a better job on network protection, provide safer email, and make web browsing safer.
First, he showed off the software's Internet Explorer pop-up blocker, which will be on by default. Kaplan also demonstrated how Windows XP SP2 prevents malware from being installed through the browser by automatically blocking download requests. Users can approve downloads.
"It puts the user in control of what downloads on their machine," Kaplan said.
He also demonstrated the Security Center feature, which will allow users to check the status of their firewall, antivirus protection, and updates. Windows XP SP2 will be available in the third quarter, he said.
A capability that Microsoft plans to include to its Windows Server technology includes a "health check-up" that will check the patch status and antivirus protection of a system before it connects to the network, he said.
Overall, Microsoft's security efforts are paying off, Kaplan said. Windows Server 2003 had only 13 critical or serious security vulnerabilities within a year of its release while Windows Server 2000 had 42, he said.
"Little by little, the dev teams are making an impact," he said.
Asked after the presentation whether Microsoft plans to integrate antivirus protection into its software, Kaplan said the company hasn't decided on a long-term antivirus strategy. Last summer, Microsoft bought GeCAD software.
"We haven't decided how or if we'll integrate that technology," Kaplan said.