Windows 7 more malware-resistant than XP/Vista

If you're a Windows user that's holding onto your Vista or XP installation, then this recent security report from Microsoft might make you think about switching to Windows 7.

If you're a Windows user that's holding onto your Vista or XP installation, then this recent security report from Microsoft might make you think about switching to Windows 7.

The report goes on for nearly ninety pages, but I think that this chart of quarterly infection rates for 2010 says it all really:

This data has been normalized so that it represents infections per thousand systems (in other words, the popularity of XP doesn't skew the results towards XP).

Windows XP SP3 32-bit has an infection rate of 15.9 per thousand systems, while Windows Vista SP2 32-bit has half this infection rate, 7.5 per thousand. Windows 7 32-bit nearly halves this again to 3.8 per thousand, while Windows 7 64-bit managed to get the infection rate per thousand down to 2.5.

Why is 64-bit Windows more secure? Microsoft offers up two possible suggestions:

  • That 64-bit users are more savvy than 32-bit users (more true in 2010 than it is in 2011)
  • Kernel Patch Protection helps to prevent unauthorized modifications, hobbling a lot fo malware

There are other interesting nuggets in the report. Take this chart of exploit attempts, showing how hackers have leapt on Java:

Here's another interesting chart, showing how PDF exploits have fallen dramatically:

So, Windows 7 is safer than Vista, and much safer than XP ... does this make you want to upgrade?

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All