Bitdefender flags Windows 8 security holes

Windows 8 home screen
12 Nov, 2012

Anti-virus vendor claims Microsoft's new operating system is prone to attack by 15 per cent of the top 100 malware families.

Anti-virus software vendor Bitdefender claims to have uncovered a series of security holes in Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system (OS).

The company claims the OS, which went on sale last month, is susceptible to attack from 15 per cent of the 100 malware families that are most commonly used by cyber criminals, even when Microsoft’s anti-spyware offering, Defender, is activated.

During a controlled test, carried out by Bitdefender’s research team, Windows 8 with Defender activated was infected by 61 out of the 385 most popular malware threat samples.

The samples featured the malware families that have been most frequently detected by Bitdefender’s Real-Time Virus Reporting System over the past six months.

It is claimed the malware that successfully bypassed Defender could have allowed backdoor access to Windows 8 machines and intercepted users’ keystrokes.

Meanwhile, on Windows 8 PCs that had Defender deactivated, 234 of the 385 malware samples ran successfully.

Catalin Cosoi, chief security strategist at Bitdefender, said activating Defender offered better protection to Windows 8 users than doing nothing.

“But it’s not a whole lot better,” said Cosoi. “Most of the popular anti-virus systems can do better [and] the conclusion is clear: using your PC without a security solution is extremely risky.”