BetaNews takes a look at the new features the third service pack for Windows XP will offer and wonders if these features will substantially improve security.
According to preliminary reports from Neosmart, testers there found evidence that the company is hardening XP's network security with added features.
One of these features had actually been on Microsoft's list for some time, and might actually have caused problems for customers had it been omitted: Network Access Protection (NAP), which is due to be managed by the forthcoming Windows Server 2008. This new service disallows network clients from accessing a WS2K8 server without passing a minimum "health screening," which checks for the presence of updates and service packs (including SP3) and disallows access to failing clients until they upgrade.
When NAP's inclusion in WS2K8 was first confirmed in late August, a Microsoft spokesperson contacted BetaNews to make sure we reported it wasn't just for Windows Server and just for Vista. We assumed that meant it would find its way to XP as well, though the spokesperson declined to be pressed further at that time.