Windows 8 may be 'safer', but you're still not buying it

Windows 8 may be 'safer', but you're still not buying it

Summary: The promise of a more secure operating system may be an enticing lure, but consumers aren't biting.

TOPICS: Security

If cybersecurity is becoming an urgent issue, surely you would want to upgrade to what you consider to be the most secure operating system?

Avast security survey windows 8 consumer trend buy operating system

According to new research conducted by antivirus firm Avast, apparently not.

Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 8, seems a world apart from its predecessors, including Windows 7 and Windows XP. Based on recent reviews from HSN, the jury still appears to be out on how consumers are going to react to such a leap away from the familiar start-menu and the new integration of advert-supported applications and radical hardware changes, but for users of Avast, familiarity may trump security. 

The research team surveyed 350,000 out of 3.1 million active Avast users in a 24-hour period in October this year for their opinions on the Windows 8 operating system, and whether they felt it was an improvement in home network security. Respondents came from a number of English-speaking countries and across seven languages.

Those that completed the survey said that while they expect Microsoft's new operating system to be safer than previous versions, only 8 percent stated they would buy a new computer or upgrade because of it.

Two-third of the 350,000 survey respondents -- mainly Windows rather than Mac users -- are currently running Windows 7, and even though Windows XP is running close to its expiry date, 30 percent are still running this platform or Windows Vista. 

The majority of respondents were aware of Windows 8 and its pending arrival, something that Microsoft still intends to increase in order to promote the Windws 8 operating system, recently-released Surface tablet and Windows Phone.

18 percent believed that Microsoft has improved its security features on operating systems over the years, 46 percent said the firm "probably" has improved, and 30 percent were not sure. 2 percent believed that Microsoft has not improved in the least.

While almost half believe that the new Windows 8 would be the most secure Microsoft operating system to date, 14 percent were skeptical. However, even when so many believe Windows 8 will be secure, 78 percent insisted they would not purchase a new computer or upgrade.

More than a quarter seem to be leaning towards a different system altogether, stating that their next purchase would be an iPad or Mac, products developed by rival firm Apple. 

Topic: Security

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  • Unremarkable

    This seems like trying to make a story out of new OS adoption following the same pattern as usual.
    Tim Acheson
    • Yes, its a kind of oddball article without much to rely on.

      First off, the articles main point seems to revolve around security to some degree, as in; security is very important, so why are more people not interested in upgrading to Windows 8 for the best security?

      The premise is a little flawed and appears to be relying heavily on old outdated myths. The myth that the article seems to be relying on is that Windows has been plagued by security problems and while XP and Windows 7 improved upon security its really not enough and logically people should be going to Windows 8 for even better security. It’s a myth because although when taking into account the multiples of millions of people who use Windows based computers there are always those that suffer some security based problems, those security based problems have been generally so diminished for so many years that for a very long time now people who regularly use Windows GENERALLY do not see Windows as an operating system plagued by security problems. It hasn’t been a significant selling point for a long time now.

      This is not speculation. Its an obvious undeniable fact given the sheer number of people still to this day using XP quite happily. If old XP was experiencing anything close to security related plagues it would have taken no time at all to get the majority of people off of it. Certainly both Vista and Win 7 that came afterward were never accused of being plagued by security problems with any credibility. The mere fact that many Windows computers do run into security problems isn’t an issue, because in this case “many” simply refers to numbers of computers, not percentages, in relations to percentages of Windows based computers in regular use, only a few ever have significant security related problems anymore.

      When it comes to Windows, a brand new operating system cost money. Installing it is work for most people, or having a professional do it, again, cost money. People always have a little fear that going through an OS upgrade may get things botched, files may be lost, anything could happen. In short, for most people going through an OS upgrade has to provide some kind of genuine inspiration to upgrade. And that’s in ANY case. Currently most people on Windows 7 that have experience with previous versions of Windows will quickly tell you that Windows 7 is very likely the best OS Microsoft has EVER made, yet there are those who hang on to XP that is practically a dinosaur in OS terms, and its simply because XP does still work properly, and without significant security worries, and Windows 7 cost money.

      Now along comes Windows 8. Most people who have used Windows 8 and actually DO like Windows say it’s a fantastic OS, both faster and more secure and stable than ever. But it has some very significant UI changes that require some learning. If one was to take anything seriously about what true Windows haters have been saying for years about Windows, than the promise of a faster more secure and stable Windows OS would be seen as a god send. Something to be gobbled up by needy Windows users who are desperate for something just like Windows 8 to come alone and alleviate some of their suffering.

      But! As it turns out, Windows haters are in fact nothing more than Windows haters and alas, the vast majority of what they have been carping and spouting off about being so bad about Windows have been massively untrue. In fact the vast majority of Windows users have not found Windows operating systems since XP to be problematic in any significant degree in relation to speed, security or stability. Certainly things have improved over the years, but for a very long time now, things have not been nearly so problematic to cause the public to be ready to lay out bucks for new Windows OS’s simply due to the fact the public needs even better speed security and stability to keep them happy. In general.

      Some do, sure. There will always be various categories in any walk of life that amount to “some”. Some really want this, some really need that, and some really want the other thing. What the issue here is, is that most, not some, but most are happy enough with what they are using today that they are not ready to pay the money and make the efforts required to upgrade, either by way of new hardware or by OS only.

      SO this article is a bit of an odd one in some ways. What seems abundantly clear to simple logical thinking, for reasons why many do not run out and get a new PC or OS upgrade right away, others actually seem to be at least a little mystified by it because for some odd reason they appear to be still thinking there is some merit to the myth that says Windows has speed, security and stability problems.

      The world votes on this question daily, and has been for years, and the votes keep coming back daily that since about Win XPSP2 and beyond people have been quite happy with Windows generally and have not seen significant enough problems in security or other often complained about areas by the haters, to inspire Windows users to quickly want to upgrade to improve upon these areas. Its just not a big problem.
  • True...

    as far as I'm concerned and just about any I know.
  • If that were true...

    "If cybersecurity is becoming an urgent issue, surely you would want to upgrade to what you consider to be the most secure operating system?"

    If that were true we'd all be on Linux by now.
    • Why and How?

      If Linux usage becomes more, it will attract more malware writers and hackers. I don't think malware writers or hackers are fanbois like most of us. They want to target majority. Otherwise Google Android (based on Linux), wouldn't be the #1 in getting malware having constant security concerns. Your hatred towards the other side showing out.
      Ram U
      • Actually, T1Oracle is mostly correct.

        Im not sure if you are saying his MS or Linux fan boyism is shinning through. The fact is, I use Windows and prefere Windows over Linux, but if security is your over riding concern than Linux is probably a better bet than Windows every time.

        But for most people, by far, Windows has enough security to satisfy the needs.
    • Please check this

      Now tell me who is on the top!

      Also all Mac lovers please check who is listed in the top 10 there.
      Ram U
      • On the same page MS Windows tops the 20 ...

        with most malware, and 16 of the 20 most extended malware, infecting (if we add) totalling the 61.4% of the infected machines.

        Rank Name %% of individual users*
        1 Trojan.Win32.Generic 17,1%
        2 DangerousObject.Multi.Generic 15,6%
        3 Trojan.Win32.AutoRun.gen 14,5%
        4 Trojan.Win32.Starter.yy 7,6%
    • @T1Oracle

      So... what's your explanation as to why Linux isn't being run by everyone by now? The Linux fanboys always use this argument and yet Windows still has the largest user base - why is that? (BTW, in case you haven't caught on - this is a rhetorical question meant to poke fun at your response)
  • So what?

    this does not say much about the adoption of Windows 8 either way. People haven't been buying Mac because they were for a time more secure than Windows. They bought macs because they like them and like the interface, and being more secure was a feature. People don't buy Honda because they are safer and more reliable. They buy Honda because they like the cars, and being safe and reliable is a benefit.
  • The keywords here, as author mentioned in the title are...

    *may be*, i.e. nobody knows yet how secure the system is.

    I tend to agree with another commentor that if everybody was concerned about being *more secure* they were either all using Linux (the only system I do my banking in) or one of the BSD distributions.
    Solid Water
    • Linux is just obscure

      When they do the hack tests, Linux goes down just as fast as Mac or Windows. A lot of security hacks from anonymous, etc, happened to Linux servers. You don't get issues on your machine because no one wants to waste time writing hacks to some sub-1 percent of the population.
      A Gray
      • Linux may be obscure, but...

        If you've ever used Linux before, you should know that no changes to the system can ever be made unless you give it specific permission to do so with root access (entering your password). On every Windows version I've seen (and probably Windows 8), I was always able to go right into the system folders and change the order of files around without much effort. There is no Way Linux could possibly go down as fast as Windows. I'd like you to give me a source on where you got that, because I don't believe it at all.
        • Uninformed

          >no changes to [Linux system] can ever be made unless you give it specific permission to do so with root access (entering your password).

          At which point the system stupidly *caches* the sudo credentials ensuring that an exploit hitting the system within the next 15 minutes *will* be able to gain root access *without* sudo credentials.

          >On every Windows version I've seen (and probably Windows 8), I was always able to go right into the system folders and change the order of files around without much effort.

          Have you used Windows since Windows ME or 98? Apparently not. Windows NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8 *always* require the an administrator (Windows equivalent of root) to change system files.

          Since Vista, Windows have had *special* protection of system files, meaning that *not* *even* the administrator can change operating system files. A special "trusted installer" account is the only one which can change system files. You cannot logon interactively as trusted installer - it is a special account which is automatically invoked by Windows Update.

          If you claim to be able to change system files in Windows 7 simply by going into the directory and deleting or overwriting files you are lying (or, if I'm generous, you are being inexcusably ignorant).

          Furthermore Windows protects against malicious drivers (since Vista) by requiring that they be digitally signed. This protection has been in place since Windows Vista. No Linux distribution has anything similar. Some distros now protect the binary (executable) files but cannot protect crucial configuration files, leaving a big hole for exploit to run through.

          Since Vista Windows also protects a running kernel against patching OS memory tables (e.g. to insert an exploit hook). This is done by checksumming the tables and encrypting certain values. Linux has none of that.

          Since Windows 8 secure boot is supported, closing the last avenue for malicious software to get complete control of a computer. No longer can a rootkit insert itself before the boot process. Except, on Linux which is still susceptible to rootkits, as demonstrated by the and linuxfoundation compromises.
          • Re: At which point the system stupidly *caches* the sudo credentials

            Doesn't on my Debian system.

            You realize that's a configuration option, right?
          • really?

            common dude there are cracks for windows 8 all over the internet so if an OS can't secure itself from such exploits than how can it protect its users? lol
        • Kernel exploits

          There are well-documented kernel exploits in Linux which have been there since the beginning. Every hack competition shows Linux getting hacked in a bunch of different ways just as fast as OS X and Windows. Just read the results from every Black Hat conference for proof. There is no such thing as a perfectly secure operating system.

          A Gray is right. If you are going to the trouble of writing a hack, why would you target an OS with sub-1% market share? Hacking is showing off your skill and you would want to show off to the biggest audience possible, just to see the big numbers listed in the news headlines. That's why Windows has always been the most popular target. Those who have hacked Linux may be more skilled but always get less media recognition because 99% of people don't care about Linux.
          • User's Fault

            Bill's entirely correct. All OSes have flaws to some degree. The problem though is most things get in simply because the user is an idiot. Since Windows has the highest market share it obviously gets hit the hardest since it has the biggest share of idiots.
          • Are you sure?

            Well you are forgetting that most of the web hosting servers are running on linux and there are really few successful attacks on them and those attacks were successful not because of linux itself but through outdated modules and insecure code. You can't compare windows with linux in terms of security as linux have far better security model than windows. The 1% market share you are talking about is for desktop not for servers and as servers are more accessible over internet than desktops so they have much more chances of being hacked.
      • @A. Gray you appear to be a security expert

        Did anonymous hack Nvidia also?

        Nvidia confirms hackers swiped up to 400,000 user accounts

        What to do think about about Vupen's claim that it has a Windows 8 exploit?

        It goes to show any thing can be hacked regardless of the OS....