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Microsoft appoints new security chief

Scott Charney, a former cybercrime prosecutor, will take responsibility for the security of the software giant's internal systems.

Robert Lemos Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Robert Lemos
covers viruses, worms and other security threats.
Robert Lemos
Microsoft appointed a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney to its top security position, the company announced Thursday.

Scott Charney, currently the principal for digital risk management and forensics at PricewaterhouseCoopers, will become chief security strategist on April 1, overseeing the software giant's internal and product security policies.

Charney will replace Howard Schmidt, who has left his role as chief security officer at Microsoft to become vice chairman of the federal Critical Infrastructure Protection Board.

The White House refused to comment, as did Charney.

Before he joined PricewaterhouseCoopers, Charney served as the chief of the computer crime and intellectual property section of the U.S. Department of Justice, from 1991 to 1999.

Security has become a critical issue for Microsoft.

Despite several initiatives to secure the Windows operating system and Microsoft's major applications, bugs have still plagued the company.

Gartner analyst John Pescatore says Scott Charney's experience could help elevate the importance of security at Microsoft--if the company is ready to listen to him.

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Two weeks ago, a memo from Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates to employees criticized the company's track record in security and set the creation of secure software as the company's top priority.

Though many experts doubt whether Microsoft can successfully secure its products, they agree that the company must improve its record.