Microsoft confirms Trustworthy Computing security team job cuts

Microsoft anti-hacker staff jobs under threat

Microsoft has announced job cuts to its Trustworthy Computing (TwC) cyber-security division, continuing CEO Satya Nadella’s move to streamline the company’s work processes.

Microsoft told V3 that while the firm will continue working to improve its services’ security, it will be making an unspecified number of cuts to TwC.

The firm said: “Our work on Trustworthy Computing continues to be a core commitment for Microsoft. We are taking some steps to move the work closer to our engineering and public policy groups, and some reductions are occurring to align our workforce.”

TwC is a key division set up under direct order by Microsoft founder Bill Gates in 2002. The division is responsible for developing Microsoft services’ security and oversees the firm’s monthly Patch Tuesday update cycle.

TwC has also played a key part in numerous law enforcement and education initiatives designed to combat cyber crime.

Microsoft, the FBI and Europol mounted a joint operation that led to the successful seizure of the infamous ZeroAccess botnet’s servers in December 2013. The botnet controlled more than two million zombie machines at its peak.

Before this, TwC provided data to the FBI that helped it successfully take down the Citadel botnet in June 2013. The botnet controlled millions of infected PCs and was responsible for more than $500m in bank fraud at the time it was taken down.

Experts within the security community told V3 the strategy shift isn’t too surprising. F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hypponen said it is simply a sign that Microsoft is moving to keep pace with the evolving threat and technology landscape.

“For a decade, Microsoft has been the model company of improving their security architecture: they used to be really bad and now they are really good,” he said. “However, at the same time their market share has changed. Windows used to be the king of the hill. Obviously it isn’t any more, so I guess changes are not that surprising.

Lancope CTO TK Keanini said many other technology firms are making similar moves. “This is a good thing. This is a pattern that is happening all over IT. Look at DevOps, the line between development and operations are being erased and so should the line between development and security,” he said 

“As Agile, DevOps and other high-frequency methodologies transform organisations, security also needs to become more embedded resulting in higher performance in all dimensions. Security, quality/test, development, design; all of these functions in a high-performing team are not separated but integrated.”

The cuts are part of a wider reform going on within Microsoft. Nadella announced plans to realign Microsoft to become a “cloud first, mobile first company” in March 2014. He has also said that no department is safe from cuts and reform.

Microsoft announced plans to axe 18,000 jobs from across the company, including 12,500 from its newly merged Nokia division in July.

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19 September 2014 | 11:50 am – Source: v3.co.uk

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