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Microsoft has confirmed that a new scripting tool will not ship as part of the next version of its operating system, Windows Vista. The disclosure dispels concerns that a virus writer had created the first "Vista viruses" by targeting a new interactive shell codenamed Monad (or MSH).

MSH was originally scheduled to be ship with Windows Vista but it is now more likely that MSH's first public release will be as part of the next edition of Microsoft Exchange, due sometime in the second half of 2006. "Monad will not be included in the final version of Windows Vista," said Stephen Toulouse, a program manager in a posting to Microsoft's Security Response Centre's blog. "Monad is being considered for the Windows Operating system platform for the next three to five years. So these potential viruses do not affect Windows Vista or any other version of Windows if 'Monad' has not been installed on the system."

"The viruses do not attempt to exploit a software vulnerability and do not encompass a new method of attack," he added.

The posting ended confusion over Monad's possible inclusion in Vista. Toulouse said that the appearance of proof of concept viruses targeting Monad had nothing to do with its omission from Windows Vista. So that's cleared that up then.

Microsoft's posting follows the online publication of five proof of concept viruses, called Danom, targeting Monad and reckoned to be the work of Austrian VXer Second Part To Hell. These, it's now clear, are not Windows Vista viruses but MSH viruses. ®

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