The games have now officially begun in Windows Vista cracking Olympiad. According to a News.com story, the first examples are exploiting vulnerabilities in the command-line shell that will support Windows Server 2003 and XP as well as Vista platforms. [Updated 8/5/2005 @ 6:20 am: George Ou explains why this security issue is not a vulnerability, but an example of malicious code.] The exact roll-out of the command shell, code-named Monad, isn't clear yet, but it is slated to be part of next year's major Windows overhaul. The long beta cycle--at least a year--for Vista and related software will give Microsoft more opportunities to iron out the bugs as its programmers and hackers, which the company is befriending, beat on the code. The problem is that those with malicious intentions will also have more time to find the faults that could compromise software security. Granted, Vista code will be more secure than previous Windows generations, but "more secure" doesn't mean "secure," and at some point next year Microsoft will have to ship it to keep the money machine on track. It will be most interesting to see how disclosure of vulnerabilities in the Vista ecosystem are handled during this beta phase and what kind of problems surface. It will certainly be the most scrutinized piece of software ever to ship, no matter when that happens.