Sunday, December 31, 2006

Kaspersky and Vista.

On the 22nd of this monthKaspersky has announced support for the Vista operating system through it's Anti-Virus 6.0 and Internet Security 6.0 personal software products. The new feature added to these products which is Maintenance Pack 2 is the support for Vista.

It was only recently that Jim Allchin of Microsoft was misinterpreted by the Media and was reported that Vista is such a secure OS that it will not need any additional antivirus protection.

In an article written by the CEO of Kaspersky, Natalya Kaspersky, she makes some good points about how Vista is far from being a fully secured OS on it's own.

Vista comes with Windows Defender but this is just an Antispyware and it does not protect against all malwares. Users can also choose to use One Care provided by Microsoft but this does not come as a part of Vista and has to be purchased separately. This new commercial Antivirus program by Microsoft still has it's limitations. And there are three points that Natalya makes regarding that aspect:

1. Microsoft’s reputation in the security field. Microsoft still does not have a good reputation in this area. By default, Microsoft solutions are perceived as being insecure or full of security loopholes. These loopholes in Windows and MS Office applications are due, above all, to extraordinary popularity – hackers across the world are going to hack programs used by the majority. Given this, I am afraid that Microsoft’s new antivirus solutions may suffer the same fate; virus writers will create malware that is designed primarily to evade detection by OneCare.

2. Another important factor is the speed at which vendors have to respond to new threats. All vendors face the same dilemma – either detect the maximum possible number of malicious programs (even at the risk of false positives) or avoid false positives at the risk of failing to detect malicious programs. Just remember the media fuss which broke out when Microsoft's antivirus detected Gmail as being malicious, with only a few journalists failing to pick up on the story. Another slightly less well-known case was when a Microsoft product detected the Russian antivirus product Dr. Web. Given Microsoft’s brand and reputation, the company simply cannot allow itself to make such mistakes. As Microsoft will need to check each potential false positive with its legal department, response to new threats will inevitably be slow.

3. The detection rate is an important characteristic of any antivirus. AV-Test GmbH at the University of Magdeburg tested OneCare in September and November 2006. The results from both tests indicated a detection rate that would be considered fairly low for your average antivirus product (the most recent – 81.22%).

Natalya clearly states that Windows Vista does have a number of features that improve security, but it still cannot guarantee protection against malware. A standalone antivirus solution is therefore a must.

Natalya's article gives some insight into the Vista security aspects. Read the article here.

So Vista needs to be protected by an Antivirus solution from an expert and experienced Antivirus vendor. And the beta versions of Kaspersky Antivirus 6.0 and Kaspersky Internet Security 6.0 with the Maintenance Pack 2 does just that.

You can download the beta version here and can be downloaded for free now.