Security built in to Vista fails

May 8, 2007

Security built in to Vista fails This really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Microsoft touts Vista as the most secure version of Windows yet, find a news article about Vista and chances are the very same thing has been said thousands of times over. Saying it is the most secure version of Windows isn’t really saying much at all.

Having some spyware protection is better than having none at all but Windows Defender as tested by PC World in the June 2007 issue failed to catch nearly 33% of their test threats and of those it did detect, it failed to remove pieces or active processes of some programs. Almost every other anti-spyware application performed better than Windows Defender but as I said, it’s better than nothing at all.

User Account Control (UAC) is responsible for those annoying pop up boxes that ask you to perform certain actions like file copying, moving folders and other mundane tasks that XP just let you do without fuss. The problem is they crop up so often it’s almost advantageous for most users to turn UAC off but that defeats the purpose and some programs like Adobe Reader 8 will fail to install if UAC is turned off. The issue here is that people will become accustomed to clicking “Allow” without actually reading what it is asking for permission to do also defeating the purpose of it.

While the firewall in Vista is a vast improvement over previous versions of Windows in that it can block both inbound and outbound traffic, outbound protection is off by default and must be configured manually. I’ve found no easy way of configuring the Vista Firewall which can be done through the wf.msc command from the search box; it’s not the easiest thing to use. I recommend ditching the Vista Firewall in favor of the PC Tools Vista Firewall which has both manual and automatic learning modes so you don’t need to set your own rules.  Many paid third party suites such as that offered by McAfee includes a firewall, anything paid or free is better than the Vista firewall. 

And this is only a small sampling of the built in features that have failed to live up to their expectations, I didn’t even rehash all the other security problems Vista has been prone to in the past. Windows Defender is by far and away a miserable failure, UAC is well on its way and the Vista Firewall is still lagging behind the likes of PC Tools, Zone Alarm, Comodo and just about anyone who produces firewall software.

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