Vista still insecure, says security vendor

PC Tools has released research to back up its claims that Vista is less secure Windows 2000, following Microsoft criticism
Written by Tom Espiner, Contributor

Security vendor PC Tools has released more research to back up its claim that Vista is far from immune to infection.

In an attempt to reinforce its claim that Vista is less secure than Windows 2000, PC Tools on Monday released statistics, collected over the six months since last November, from customers using its ThreatFire security software.

The company found that of 190,692 Vista machines, 121,380 were infected with at least one piece of malware, while some were infected by up to 19 pieces of malicious code. 74 percent of the infections were adware, while 17 percent were Trojan infections.

"Online threats, such as Trojans, worms and spyware, have the potential to seriously impact consumer privacy and security online," said Simon Clausen, chief executive of PC Tools. "These threats can cause substantial damage, by acting as backdoors for hackers to access personal and confidential information from the PC or for the PC to become integrated into a botnet and be used for malicious purposes."

Clausen denied that such a large proportion of Vista machines being infected is a reflection more on the security of the ThreatFire software than the Vista operating system.

"Firstly, it is important to highlight that all systems used in the research pool were, at the very least, running PC Tool's ThreatFire and that, because the technology is behavioural-based, the data refers to threats that actually executed and triggered our behavioural detection on the client machine," said Clausen.

In response to claims last week by Austin Wilson, director of Windows client security product management, that statistics collected using Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) showed Vista was more secure than Windows 2000, Clausen said: "PC Tools highlights that MSRT is not a comprehensive antivirus scanner, but a malware-removal tool for a limited range of specific, prevalent malicious software."

Microsoft had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

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