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How secure is Windows Vista?

With the security issues that are being raised around Vista, what can VARs do to ease their customers fears?

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At this point, Windows Vista has proven itself very secure. I think it's inheriting some disfavor, however warranted, based on the track records of its operating system predecessors, like Windows 2000 and Windows XP. The first "Patch Tuesday" since Vista's mass availability came around and no direct patches for Vista were released. (There was one patch that secured the vulnerability detection engine in Microsoft anti-malware products, of which Windows Defender -- included in Vista -- is one). But Vista is far more secure than any Microsoft client OS thus far. Point out the following Vista traits, just a few of the many security improvements, to users who are having trouble overcoming the psychological hurdle of Vista security:
  • User Account Control protects users from themselves
  • Unsigned driver prompting makes sure you know who your drivers are from and secures the kernel against attack
  • More secure codebase
  • Windows Firewall with Advanced Security included to protect network interfaces
  • For enterprise clients, the Bitlocker drive encryption tool is perfect for protecting sensitive data on potentially vulnerable machines

This was first published in January 2008

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