Microsoft has announced plans to expand the number of companies in its threat-sharing Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP).
Microsoft Trustworthy Computing (TwC) group manager Dustin Childs announced the expansion, confirming that the company will launch a new MAPP Scanner service. The scanner is designed to profile incoming threats as they appear. Childs said the cloud scanner is an essential tool required to combat the influx of advanced threats targeting businesses on a daily basis.
"MAPP Scanner is a cloud-based service that allows Office documents, PDF files, and URLs to be scanned for threats, which increases the likelihood of us learning about new attacks and attack vectors sooner rather than later," Childs wrote. " This service leverages our own product knowledge and is what we use internally to kick off new investigations. This service is currently in pilot with a limited number of partners."
The change will also split MAPP into separate sections for security vendors and responders. Childs said the for vendors section is a developed version of the traditional MAPP program and will continue to provide vendors with information about threats ahead of patch releases.
"MAPP for Security Vendors is our traditional MAPP program with some new enhancements. As part of our monthly security bulletin release process, we will engage certain members of the MAPP community to help validate our guidance prior to final release. Working with the community in this way helps to ensure our guidance works for the widest possible set of partners," he wrote.
"In addition, we will share detections earlier to select MAPP partners with a trusted history. These trusted partners will receive the information three business days before Update Tuesday to help them create better quality solutions for our common customers."
The Microsoft group manager said MAPP for responders is a new more aggressive partnership designed to more actively combat black hat hackers. "MAPP for Responders is a new way to share technical information and threat indicators to organisations focused on incident response and intrusion prevention," he wrote.
"Getting this information into the hands of those closest to the events can be invaluable in detecting and disrupting attacks. Many attackers share information among themselves, and defenders should share knowledge to help prevent and contain issues as they occur. MAPP for Responders will work to build a community for information exchange to counter the activities of those who wish to do harm."
Childs said the expanded program will help Microsoft fulfill its goal to "eliminate entire classes of attacks by working closely with partners to build up defences, making it increasingly difficult to target Microsoft's platform."
The MAPP expansion is one of many anti-hacker initiatives launched by Microsoft. In May the company's TwC division announced plans to offer firms real-time information on the threats facing them by loading its anti-botnet security intelligence systems into Windows Azure.
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