Windows Vista More Vulnerable To Malware Than Windows 2000

May 8, 2008 – 5:59 PM

Microsoft’s Vista operating system is more susceptible to malware than Windows 2000, and though it’s 37% more secure than Windows XP, it’s still too vulnerable.That’s the contention of security vendor PC Tools, which has a financial interest in the vulnerability of Microsoft’s software.

“Ironically, the new operating system has been hailed by Microsoft as the most secure version of Windows to date,” said Simon Clausen, CEO of PC Tools Software in a statement. “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% more secure than Windows XP.”According to statistics gathered from users of PC Tools’ ThreatFire security service, Vista let 639 threats per thousand computers through, compared to 586 for Windows 2000, 478 for Windows 2003, and 1,021 for Windows XP.

ThreatFire is an anti-malware system that tries to block malicious software based on its behavior rather than by signature matching.

Given an infection rate of 639 per 1,000 PCs, almost 64% of Vista users should have compromised machines.

Michael Greene, VP of product strategy for PC Tools Software, said that the malware identified had “gotten to the desktop and to the point of doing something bad.” He said that he didn’t have the ThreatFire data immediately accessible but said that presumably some of the monitored machines also had third-party anti-virus software that missed the malware.

That tendency, the inability of signature-based anti-virus systems to keep up with auto-generated malware variants, is the reason PC Tools developed ThreatFire, Greene explained.

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