Vista Will Be Targeted in '08, Says McAfee

Dennis Faas's picture

Though it has struggled to gain the attention of many computer users set in their XP ways, Windows Vista is considered to be relatively safer from malware than its predecessor. Unfortunately, according to one prominent security company, that's about to change.

In a recent report by well-known software developer McAfee Inc., Vista is labeled as a targeted system for calendar 2008. That will certainly change the current state of affairs, where hackers have bypassed the new Vista in continuing to attack old XP users. "Most of the current malware has ignored Vista," admitted McAfee researcher Craig Schumagar.

So, Vista and its users, to this point, have been lucky. Unfortunately, the game of Russian Roulette is about to turn out bad. Very bad. Why? Because up until now Vista simply hasn't been installed on enough computers to warrant attack. As more and more users invest in the operating system, that will change things drastically over the next twelve months. (Source:

As for hackers, we have a fairly good idea of what drives them. "These people make their living writing malware or attacking users," Schumagar said. "They're driven by financial motivation, and only when market share has an impact will they really work on Vista."

McAfee is predicting that Vista's popularity in 2008 will finally make it worth targeting. Right now it's not much more entrenched than Apple's Leopard, but expect that to change. Once Vista passes the 1/10 desktop operating system market share plateau, malware threats will immediately begin to populate the web.

According to statistics last updated at Halloween, Vista's piece of the pie has yet to pass 8 per cent. (Source:

Schumagar believes that Vista's lack of hacker appeal has allowed Microsoft to boast that the new operating system is more secure. In some cases, the Redmond-based giant has claimed that its Vista security programs have been able to clean out 60 per cent more malware than computers using Windows XP SP2.

It's not a matter of luck but just a matter of time, says Schumagar. "As Vista gains in adoption, it then impacts malware authors and forces them to focus attention on finding vulnerabilities, or to alter their social engineering techniques to accommodate it."

So, Vista users: maybe it's best that you're the only ones on the block with the embattled new operating system, huh?

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