More security woes for Vista

A report raises concerns about the security features built into the upcoming version of Microsoft’s flagship Windows Vista operating system. The report by the Yankee Group says that while a strong emphasis on security is welcome, many of the features are intrusive and likely to be bypassed by users and IT staff. It also predicts lean times ahead for certain sectors of the PC security industry.

While the Yankee group welcomes new levels of security in Vista such as making it easier to create restricted privilege user accounts instead of making admin rights the default setting, rebuilding the Swiss cheese that is Internet Explorer and integrating anti-phishing and anti-spyware controls, it also warns that end users and IT staff alike could face a period of disruption to their work as they adjust to the more intrusive security features built into Vista.

Of particular concern to the report’s authors are the limits to User Access Control which means that end user privileges could be restricted to the extent that they will be bombarding IT staff with permission requests to complete their work. The fear is that such controls will either be ignored or switched off leaving the system no better than before.

The report concludes that Vista will bring ‘spectacular improvements to the overall level of security for users’ according to Andrew Jaquith, Yankee Group Security Solutions & Services programme manager. ‘However, Windows security issues will continue to be a permanent fact of life for Microsoft, which means that third parties will always have a rich and robust aftermarket available to them to serve’.

Amongst the losers in the PC security business will be the anti-spyware firms and desktop firewalls such as those from ZoneLabs. However, the Yankee group still sees a place for corporate antivirus solutions which include not just protection from virus attacks on individual machines but also from intrusions across whole networks.

This is the second report in a week which sees problems with the Vista security features. Last week analysts Gartner reported that the security overhead in Vista would further delay the introduction of the new operating system until well into 2007.

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