Vista security credentials tarnished in malware survey
Better off with a Win 2000 box
Windows Vista is better at protecting against malware than XP but more easily infected than Windows 2000, according to a study by Australian anti-virus firm PC Tools.
The survey calls into question Microsoft's oft-cited claims that Vista is its most secure operating system.
Recent research based on malware scans of more than 1.4m PCs running PC Tools' ThreatFire security technology over a period of six months turned up 639 threats per 1,000 PCs running Windows Vista compared to 1,021 threats per 1,000 Win XP boxes and 586 for 1,000 machines running Windows 2000. Servers running Win 2003 had the lowest number of infection with 586 unique threats per thousand machines. PC Tools' results were verified by checking against third-party scanners.
It's worth bearing in mind that PCs infected with malware are likely to harbour multiple infections, so PC Tools' stats don't shed much light on the percentage of infected machines.
"[Vista]has been hailed by Microsoft as the most secure version of Windows to date. However, recent research conducted with statistics from over 1.4 million computers within the ThreatFire community has shown that Windows Vista is more susceptible to malware than the eight year old Windows 2000 operating system, and only 37 per cent more secure than Windows XP," said Simon Clausen, chief exec at PC Tools.
Clausen notes that Microsoft spent a great deal of effort in making Vista more secure. He argues that the findings of the PC Tools survey show that security firms (who have a clear vested interest) were right to be skeptical about claims that Vista offered improved resistance to malware.
It could be that malware authors are targeting XP more than either Vista or Win 2000 machines, hence the higher rates of infection on that flavour of Windows. Most malware infections rely on tricking users into doing something stupid as much, if not more than, security vulnerabilities. Defending against human stupidity is always going to be tricky, or even impossible. ®
Most used win
The number of infection per OS seem to be directly related to the number of people actually using the OS.
1. Of course Windows XP will have the most
2. Of Course Win2k/2003 will have the less, because there is a lot less in use
3, Of Course There is almost none for Linux/MacOS (very fews peoples are using them)
4. Of course most attack rely on user action and since now these day everyone have a computer and 90% of know as much about computer then they used to know how to program a VCR.
"Whilst I agree with you on the bandwagonning comment, surely you would agree that if Microsoft produced a cheaper, more reliable and secure product then it would not be an issue?"
They do - Windows Mobile aka CE.
It's cheap, secure and reliable enough to go into high availability applications like phones.
It's also about as useful as Ubuntu et al for the average PC user, but I bet it would fly on a Core 2.
Back to the article - perhaps a more useful survey would be a comparison between user-created risk ("click this link for FREE PRON!") and genuine technical risk due to OS vulns.
I've said it before...
If a computer is going to be usable, then the operating system must allow the installation of OS patches and applications. That's the problem right there, and it means that it is impossible to fully secure an OS. There has to be SOME mechanism to allow users to install software, and that mechanism will equally well let them install malware.
If non-technical users are to use a computer, the mechanism to allow the installation of OS patches and applications must be easy to use and as unobtrusive as possible. Ergo, the installation of malware is also made very easy.
The problem isn't the OS - it's the users. Letting non-tech users use computers is a bad idea for security. Unfortunately, it's also the only way that we can afford to have home computers in the first place... Without the non-tech users there wouldn't be the mass market driving down the unit cost.
Ubuntu could suffer just as much - if it ever reaches an installed user base large enough to be worth the attention of malware writers. Windows may have a special problem in that the line between OS and Application is more blurred than it is in Linux, but exactly the same logic applies to both: If you have to let a non-technical user install software or patches then you've immediately allowed a route in for malware.
The only solution is to start selling computers as "appliances" with no user-modifiable parts or software. It's a radical departure from what tech users think of as being a general-purpose computer, but I bet it's what 95%+ of users think of the wee box sitting in the corner of their room.