McAfee and Symantec: Vista May Be Less Safe Than XP

Dennis Faas's picture

Both McAfee and Symantec have recently countered claims that Microsoft has provided security firms with enough information to get their products working its upcoming operating system, Windows Vista.

McAfee's Worldwide Corporate Communications Vice President Siobhan MacDermott released a statement explaining that the information is inadequate. MacDermott says that although McAfee has received a document that contained the SDK (Software Development Kit) for Windows Security Centre, requests for both clarifications and meetings have been ignored. "To date, we have not had any cooperation from MS and no response on McAfee's repeated requests to review the information." (Source:

McDermott goes on to criticize Microsoft's half-baked attempt to provide security firms with the information they require. "Contrary to what it says publicly, Microsoft has not cooperated with the leading security providers." Further, McDermott claims that McAfee has not received anything from Microsoft concerning PatchGuard, the technology used by Vista to lock out all access to the kernel -- the heart of the operating system. (Source:

Symantec chimed in with similar sentiments. The company concurs that Microsoft has not provided them with information to allow Symantec to adapt their products to Vista. Further, Symantec feels that the clock is ticking, and is worried about being in a 'too little, too late' situation.

"The operative question is exactly when will the final detailed information be made available to security providers? It is important to note that the Vista operating system is slated to ship to OEM within the next few weeks. Therefore, security providers would need to have the final detailed information to address their concerns about Windows Security Centre and PatchGuard provided to them in a timely manner," a company representative explained. (Source:

Both McAfee and Symantec have also weighed in on Microsoft's technology, criticizing its safety. Both companies maintain that the PatchGuard will actually make Vista less safe than Windows XP. (Source:

Microsoft does not seem concerned that their unwillingness to provide information may result in a reluctance of end-users to purchase Vista until security companies can provide cooperative products. However, with security firms continuing to go public with their frustrations, Microsoft may soon begin to feel the pressure.

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