IT PRO: 80 Percent Of Viruses Love Windows 7.

According to one leading security research lab, Windows 7 is vulnerable to an astonishing 8 out of 10 viruses it was exposed to during testing.

(via itpro.co.uk)

The author questions the test because no anti-virus software was installed, and new viruses were used to test the exposure. He seemed to think this might not be fair, but I strongly disagree.

This was the perfect way to test Microsoft’s claims that Windows 7 was über secure, hard to crack, etc. They’ve been bragging about security for Vista and Windows 7 for years, yet no one has done the obvious: test them on their own.

It should be obvious that anti-virus software masks the underlying operating system’s vulnerabilities. Such a test only shows how good the AV software — not the OS — is at protecting a PC.

What Sophos’ test proves is that MS was full of it regarding the security of Windows 7; that in point of fact an anti-virus solution is absolutely required to secure your system, because the OS itself is as vulnerable as ever.

Run the same test with a BSD, Linux, Mac, or other *nix system and they’ll kick Windows 7’s ass, and with no third-party solution as a band-aid. That’s because they’re already secure, thank you.

Posted via web from The Small Wave.

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8 thoughts on “IT PRO: 80 Percent Of Viruses Love Windows 7.

  1. Ok, I’ll buy that. Microsoft, as usual, over promises and under delivers. But, assuming that these “viruses” are trojans and not viruses or worms, then any OS will probably fail.

  2. James,

    Valid points all around, but they only speak to a possible MOTIVE for Sophos’ test, not the RESULTS.

    I think they were trying to show that for all MS’ talk of Windows being so much more secure, you do in fact need additional software to protect your PC. The OS can’t handle it alone, and MS implies otherwise.

    To be sure, the same tests conducted with various AV utilities installed (including MS’ own Security Essentials) would be interesting. But to my point that’s only a test of the effectiveness of the AV software, not the OS.

    Microsoft didn’t claim Windows 7 (and Vista) were super secure only as long as you ran AV software. The implication was that there was great resistance to vulnerabilities in the OS itself. It’s those claims that I think need to be, and were, refuted.

  3. Remember who is making these claims. The anti-virus vendors have a vested interest in convincing the market that they are necessary. These are the same people who don’t differentiate between viruses and trojans. They call everything a “virus”. If the 10 “viruses” where trojans, then Windows, like Mac OS X, would have a hard time preventing them without malware protection.

    I don’t know if this is the case but I know I don’t trust Sophos or any other anti-virus vendor. If they were making these claims against OS X, I wouldn’t believe them so I’m not sure why I should believe them in regards to Windows.

  4. There is a mind block at work here; a massive delusion.

    Windows users have been conditioned into thinking that it not a proper function of the operating system to protect itself from virus, worms, adware and spyware. That is the function of third party anti virus software.

    Then, they claim that the Mac has the above malware when we don’t. Some of them will declare that the Mac is more vulnerable than Windows. That is lunacy. They always confuse Trojan Horses, spam and Phishing with virus, worms, adware and spyware. The former are human engineering attacks designed to fool people into giving away their security.

    None of the vulnerabilities which Mr Miller of Intego uses to win at Consecwest are ever turned into exploits. Mac OSX has never has an exploit in the wild. I’m eager to see what changes will occur when the Mac’s 64 bit kernel is turned on by default, later this year. I am especial interested in seeing what vulnerabilities Mr Miller can find. Will it be SOP? Who knows?

    • I question that OS X has *never* had an exploit in the wild. Are you sure? I remember in April 2008 Mac users had to download a few hundred megabytes of patches, because Apple didn’t have much previous experience in doing updates.

  5. Thanks for this post, I will cite it the next time my ‘smug’ Window 7 loving friends tell me that it’s better then the Mac for security! Wow, 80%, now that should make for really good fodder for the next rounds of ‘I’m a PC, I’m a Mac’ ads.

    • The way I see it, you only need a little more protection than attackers, because protecting an OS costs system resources. Microsoft has everyone attacking them. They can never put enough security on their OSes. Apple has almost nobody attacking them, so they can afford to not work as much on security, because they are already many steps ahead of the 2 OS X hackers out there.

      Security through obscurity works, though. That’s how Apple can say OS X is more secure than Windows. But swap the market shares, and you’ll see some interesting things, Mac users.

      • “But swap the market shares, and you’ll see some interesting things, Mac users.”

        The only thing you’d see is what UNIX people have known all along: UNIX is much more secure than Windows. Not just Mac OS X, it applies to BSD, various Linux (UNIX-like) versions, HP-UX, AIX, and others.

        There is no security through obscurity. It’s a myth from Microsoft’s marketing department. The relative ease in cracking Windows (even Windows 7) tells you why it’s the system hacked the most: It’s easy! Always has been; it’s pretty safe to say it always will be.

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