Feeds

Naked Win 7 still vulnerable to most viruses

User Account Control easily bypassed

Top three mobile application threats

Out-of-the-box Windows 7 machines are still vulnerable to eight out of ten viruses, according to a test by security firm Sophos.

The experiment proves that the improved User Account Control (UAC) features built into Windows 7 are not enough and that additional anti-virus protection is still required. In fairness to Redmond, Microsoft crystal clear that anti-virus remains a necessary add-on to Windows PCs.

As well as paid-for products a number of free-of-charge products from AVG, Comodo, Avast and Avira are available, along with Microsoft's home-grown Microsoft Security Essentials freeware anti-malware scanner.

In the Sophos experiment, Windows 7 with User Account Control in default configuration and no-anti-malware installed was tested against ten malware samples that arrived in Sophos's labs on 22 October. Seven of these badware packages ran while two failed to work on Win 7 machines irrespective of whether UAC protection was in place or not.

UAC stopped only one example of malware that would otherwise have infected the PC, a strain of autorun malware (called Autorun-ATK by Sophos).

Two Trojans - a variant of Bredo and a banking trojan - failed to work on Win 7 machines. However, a variant of the notorious Zbot Trojan as well as a scareware package slipped through the net infecting Win 7 machines used in the test, irrespective of whether or not Windows UAC was running.

UAC debuted in Windows Vista as a technology designed to prompt users for permission before allowing applications to run. Widely criticised as annoying, Microsoft released a less intrusive version of the software with Windows 7.

"User Account Control did block one sample; however, its failure to block anything else just reinforces my warning prior to the Windows 7 launch that UAC's default configuration is not effective at protecting a PC from modern malware," writes Sophos security researcher Chester Wisniewski.

"Lesson learned? You still need to run anti-virus on Windows 7."

Wisniewski notes that Vista fared better then other flavours of Windows in a security report by Microsoft released on Monday. The infection rate of Windows Vista SP1 was 61.9 percent less than that of Windows XP SP3.

That, according to Wisniewski, means Vista is the "least ugly baby in its family" and ought not to confer any bragging rights. "You can be sure the next report will highlight its even less ugly younger sibling, Windows 7," he adds. ®

Bootnote

During a presentation on The Balance of Browser Security and Settings at the RSA Conference in London last month, Microsoft's Ed Gibson referred to the version of UAC that came with Vista as "User Annoyance Control". The terminology by Microsoft’s chief security advisor in the UK was clearly deliberate, and a sign that Redmond acknowledges that the constant pop-ups generated by the technology on Vista boxes were counterproductive. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork
One Heartbleed vuln was too many for Theo de Raadt
Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor
Leaker claims big release due this fall as Microsoft herds us into the CLOUD
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
Patch iOS, OS X now: PDFs, JPEGs, URLs, web pages can pwn your kit
Plus: iThings and desktops at risk of NEW SSL attack flaw
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Apple inaugurates free OS X beta program for world+dog
Prerelease software now open to anyone, not just developers – as long as you keep quiet
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.