Microsoft's latest desktop operating system, Windows Vista, includes a wide range of new security features. But do the new features measure up to Microsoft's aspirations to remove the vulnerabilities of earlier operating systems?
What's in Windows Vista?
Windows Security Center - Runs in the background and monitors the status of security software on the computer. Sophos applauds this feature because it makes it clear to non-technical users when their computer is not secure.
User Account Control - An important enhancement designed to prevent the installation of malware threats. However, it is also very intrusive with a high number of alerts that end users need to respond to, so there is a strong likelihood of it being disabled unless they are trained in how to use it.
Windows Defender - A built-in anti-spyware program that is good for home users although it doesn't have the central administration features that organizations need.
Kernel Patch Protection, or PatchGuard - Incorporated into 64-bit Windows Vista to stop rogue code, like rootkits, from being able to make malicious changes to the operating system kernel. Some vendors have complained this feature prevents security software from working effectively. Sophos, however, welcomes this tightening of security.
Windows Firewall - Offering application-aware outbound filtering and location-based profiles, an improvement over Windows XP SP2. However, it is not centrally monitored or managed so businesses will find it harder to benefit from these improvements.
Internet Explorer 7 - Includes features to prevent phishing and spoofing attacks.
Other improvements include Wi-Fi security, readiness for multi-factor authentication, BitLocker data protection, a Network Access Protection client, and improved auditing for compliance.
Sophos and Windows Vista
Sophos Endpoint Security and Control supports both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows Vista, providing full protection, including our HIPS technology, Behavioral Genotype Protection, on both versions.
Users of previous versions of Sophos Anti-Virus for Windows can download the latest version of Sophos Endpoint Security and Data Protection from our downloads area