Trustworthy computing

The term Trustworthy Computing (TwC) has been applied to computing systems that are inherently secure, available, and reliable. It is particularly associated with the Microsoft initiative of the same name, launched in 2002.


Until 1995, there were restrictions on commercial traffic over the Internet.[1][2][3][4]

On, May 26, 1995, Bill Gates sent the "Internet Tidal Wave" memorandum to Microsoft executives assigning "...the Internet this highest level of importance..."[5] but Microsoft's Windows 95 was released without a web browser as Microsoft had not yet developed one. The success of the web had caught them by surprise[6] but by mid 1995, they were testing their own web server,[7] and on August 24, 1995, launched a major online service, MSN.[8]

The National Research Council recognized that the rise of the Internet simultaneously increased societal reliance on computer systems while increasing the vulnerability of such systems to failure and produced an important report in 1999, "Trust in Cyberspace".[9] This report reviews the cost of un-trustworthy systems and identifies actions required for improvement.

Microsoft and Trustworthy Computing

Bill Gates launched Microsoft's "Trustworthy Computing" initiative with a January 15, 2002 memo,[10] referencing an internal whitepaper by Microsoft CTO and Senior Vice President Craig Mundie.[11] The move was reportedly prompted by the fact that they "...had been under fire from some of its larger customers–government agencies, financial companies and others–about the security problems in Windows, issues that were being brought front and center by a series of self-replicating worms and embarrassing attacks."[12] such as Code Red, Nimda and Klez.

Four areas were identified as the initiative’s key areas: Security, Privacy, Reliability, and Business Integrity,[11] and despite some initial scepticism, at its 10-year anniversary it was generally accepted as having "...made a positive impact on the industry...".[13][14]. The Trustworthy Computing campaign was the main reason why Easter eggs disappeared from Windows, Office and other Microsoft products.

See also


  1. OGC-00-33R Department of Commerce: Relationship with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (PDF). Government Accountability Office. July 7, 2000. p. 6.
  2. Management of NSFNET, a transcript of the March 12, 1992 hearing before the Subcommittee on Science of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred Second Congress, Second Session, Hon. Rick Boucher, subcommittee chairman, presiding.
  3. Susan R. Harris, Ph.D., and Elise Gerich (April 1996). "Retiring the NSFNET Backbone Service: Chronicling the End of an Era". ConneXions. 10 (4). Archived from the original on 2015-03-17.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. "A Brief History of the Internet".
  5. Gates, Bill – The Internet Tidal Wave. Microsoft, May 26, 1995. Made publicly available at United States Department of Justice. United States v. Microsoft Trial Exhibits.
  6. "Microsoft – The History of Internet Explorer". Retrieved 2007-02-06.
  7. "A Brief History of Microsoft on the Web", Dave Cramer,
  8. "MSN Historical Time line". Archived from the original on 2005-06-18. Retrieved 2006-07-03.
  9. "Trust in Cyberspace", 1999, final report of the "Committee on Information System Trustworthiness".
  10. "Subject: Trustworthy computing", From: Bill Gates Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2002,
  11. "Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft White Paper", (revised October 2002 version),
  12. "Era Ends With Break Up of Trustworthy Computing Group at Microsoft", September 19, 2014, Dennis Fisher,
  13. "10 years ago today: Bill Gates kicks arse over security", January 15, 2012, John Leyden, The Register.
  14. Tony Bradley (March 5, 2014). "The Business World Owes A Lot To Microsoft Trustworthy Computing".
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