Malware more compatible with Vista than anti-malware products

Malware writers faster in developing code than security industry, claims expert.

Malware writers appear to be much further along in developing malware for Vista than the security industry is in making products to protect the new operating system.

Speaking exclusively to IT PRO, Tim Eades, senior vice-president of sales at security company Sana Security said that 38 per cent of malware is already Vista-compatible.

"Malware writers have gone through the WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) list to make sure that their code works on new machines," he said. "They have managed to port code to Vista quicker than the security industry."

The WHQL list defines hardware that is compatible with the Windows operating system.

Eades said that consumers should be caution of adopting the 64-bit version of Vista. He said that very few security vendors outside of anti-virus have products ready for the operating system.

However, Paul Brettle, technical manager for Stonesoft said that the long lead time for development of security products was no different to what happened with previous versions.

"With the release of Windows XP, and Windows 2000 before it, we saw a delay of up to 6 months before solutions were commonly available for the platform," he said.

He said that Microsoft has been much more efficient in getting the product out to third-party providers to enable them to be Vista aware.

"Microsoft has significantly changed several parts of the architecture of Windows for Vista," said Brettle. "This has forced many providers of security solutions to completely re-engineer their software to support this change.

He added that in many cases, this change has not been for any obvious or clear benefit. "Although since the Windows architecture is the intellectual property of Microsoft. It has the right to change any part of it at any time - and obviously felt that a change was necessary for their future development needs," said Brettle.

He said that it would probably "not be a good idea to buy a brand new laptop from a major high-street shop with Windows Vista on it since it will not support the packages that you need, regardless whether the relevant security solutions are available for it or not."

He said that any criticism of the lack of support for Windows Vista for security solutions should really be aimed at the manufacturers and retailers - "not at Microsoft itself - who are forcing the consumer market to be this way."

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