Feeds

Vista security credentials tarnished in malware survey

Better off with a Win 2000 box

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.