GemPlus International, a provider of smartcard technology, recently released the results of a survey conducted on the company's behalf by Frost & Sullivan. The company questions 69 executives of Fortune 500 companies to determine their interest and use of smartcards.

According to the results, 44 (69 percent of respondents) said their companies have great interest in using such technology to strengthen their security systems. Those respondents were either in the process of or had already assessed smartcard technology. Twenty-seven respondents (39 percent) said their companies plan to implement such technology sometime in the next 3 years.

Vnunet.com reported last week that in another survey, Merrill Lynch questioned 100 chief information officers (CIOs) (75 in the United States and 25 in Europe) and found that 58 of them were considering implementing open-source software (OSS) instead of Microsoft solutions “because of its better record on security.” However, according to the survey results, the European CIOs were less inclined to use Linux on the desktop than were the US-based CIOs.

Meanwhile Microsoft is making efforts to strengthen the security of its existing and former products. Windows & .NET Magazine reported last week that one of Microsoft's most recent efforts is to produce a CD-ROM of existing security updates that can be distributed to users of Windows ME, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows 98. The company is beta testing the CD-ROM (currently in its third revision), which contains security updates that are available from the company's Windows Update Web site. Beta copies of the CD-ROM in International Organization for Standardization (ISO) format are available to Microsoft beta testers at the company's betaplace.com Web site.