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Windows Vista – big brother and your security

October 18th, 2006 · 1 Comment ·

In the past we have pointed out that Microsoft is trying its best to make sure that Windows Vista will become as dominant in the marketplace as Windows XP:

Regulation that matters – Microsoft and European Commission battle it out about Windows Vista

But Windows Vista will have a few nice security features that could make our lives a bit more difficult. We remember, of course that Windows Security Center, introduced with Windows XP Service Pack 2, pops up on desktops to alert PC owners if their firewall, virus protection and other security tools need attention.

Vista set for general release in January 2007, will add new categories and management tools. To run third-party security consoles in Vista, however, users have to manually disable the Windows Security Center.

Those who buy competing software from such vendors as Bullguard, Eset and G DATA, will have to run it alongside Microsoft’s dashboard. Unfortunately, the latter could report conflicting information. For instance, the security dashboard will add reports on spyware protection, Internet security settings, and Windows security technology called “User Account Control.”

Rivals have charged that Microsoft is hurting consumers. One reason why the European Commission has been in a continuing battle with Microsoft (see above link). Now the ante has been raised by some vendors, such as McAfee placing ads in international newspapers to make consumers and corporate users aware of this problem as outlined here (with McAfee add placed around the globe as a pdf file – interesting reading indeed)

Windows Vista and Security Center – vendors beware users take care – a nightmare

The above developments are raising the specter of more antitrust complaints for Microsoft in the U.S. With its huge presence on desktops, the software giant has a built-in advantage.

Other vendors have their own security center that provides clients with a view of the status of the vendor’s products. Accordingly, users must be given the choice to use Microsoft’s or a vendor’s dashboard. Using Microsoft’s dashboard by default means an unnecessary risk for consumers and worst is that:

– Microsoft does neither have the track record or expertise in this space, nor

– can we be sure that Microsoft defines, discovers and fixes security threats most effectively compared to other vendors.

Users may not be much interested in security issues since they just want to do their job. Noneteless, as home users they want a choice for getting the security console that is both, user friendly and effective in helping better protect their risks against malware, identity theft while doing such things as more secure online banking.

After speaking to top EU antitrust chief Neelie Kroes on 2006-10-12, Microsoft announced that it had made changes to its

a) Internet, fixed document format and

b) security software in Vista,

while Korean consumers would get a unique version of the system. Apparentely it looks like European consumers will get a similar version whereby the Security Center console should be unbundled…. but we at CyTRAP Labs remain cautious and want to see more details about how such a version of Vista would look in detail before making a judgment.

Competition is better for users by giving them a choice. Hence, until you can be sure about how Windows Vista will appear as pre-installed operating system on your latest notebook, corporate users should avoid changing to Windows Vista, it aint’ worth the risks and nightmares coming with using the operating system as it is set-up now.

Another story about McAfee:

McAfee – Faulty virus definition – software did delete or ‘quarantine’ legitimate files


→ 1 CommentTags: battle · definition · delete · dominant · faulty · mcafee · vista · ‘quarantine’