Microsoft snatches up Winternals


— 10:21 AM on July 19, 2006

Microsoft has acquired Winternals, a company that specializes in security, recovery, and backup software for Windows. Winternal's development efforts are spearheaded by co-founder Mark Russinovich, who made headlines last year for unmasking Sony's rootkit-based CD copy protection scheme. The scheme used a rootkit to conceal digital rights management software from both operating system and user, and it eventually became prey to malware that used said rootkit to bypass detection. The rootkit was difficult to remove, as well, and Sony's own uninstaller created additional security problems. Due in part to Russinovich's efforts, Sony eventually recalled CDs protected with the DRM scheme.

Once he joins Microsoft's ranks, Russinovich will begin work in the Platform & Services Division as one of Microsoft's 14 technical fellows. There, InfoWorld says he will "help chart the future direction of the Windows platform as it adopts new virtualization, security and multicore processor capabilities." The other Winternals co-founder, Bryce Cogswell, will become a software architect in the Windows Component Platform Team.

As for Winternals—and the company's freeware site Sysinternals—Microsoft hasn't made an official announcement regarding their fate. However, Russinovich believes development of Winternals utilities will continue in Redmond. Support contracts for Winternals software will not be renewed, however, even though Microsoft does plan to continue supporting customers through the end of their existing contracts. Thanks to readers FroBozz_Inc and JT for the tip.

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