Companies brace for Microsoft security update: An interesting look at the apparently huge Windows XP Service Pack 2 due next month and what it means for software companies. The changes will affect thousands of programs that have depended on how Windows handles certain things.
The new system bolsters security on Windows, its built-in Internet Explorer browser and Outlook Express e-mail. Among the changes, a Windows Firewall will automatically be turned on, helping to guard against attack. The browser has been fortified, and a new attachment manager will offer tougher policing against e-mail-borne attacks.
The changes in the way Windows polices itself — particularly the newly strengthened firewall — could cause troubles for applications that are used to working with Windows’ old ways. Some say that’s particularly true of applications that regularly interact online, such as gaming programs or music services.