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Microsoft's Vista AV Fails Certification 161

Posted by kdawson
from the black-eye dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft's much-hyped anti-virus solution, Live OneCare and three other Vista AV products failed to achieve the Virus Bulletin's VB100 certification. The other products are McAfee's VirusScan Enterprise, G DATA's AntiVirusKit 2007, and Norman's VirusControl. All failed to pass a series of tests that are required to display the VB100 badge. 'With the number of delays that we've seen in Vista's release, there's no excuse for security vendors not to have got their products right by now,' said John Hawes, technical consultant at Virus Bulletin."
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Microsoft's Vista AV Fails Certification

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  • excuses... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by solstice680 (938214) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:46PM (#17916210)
    What about "We didn't have access to Vista's internals until two months ago?"

    That would be a good excuse for most security vendors...
    • In theory, under anti-trust rules, the OneCare Live team has no more access than anyone else. That may not be the case, but that's their line, and they're stickin' to it.
    • Re:excuses... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ThinkFr33ly (902481) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:59PM (#17916326)
      Actually, the details on implementing anti-virus for Vista, and other low level filters, have been available for well over a year. Some documentation has been avilable for more than 2 years.

      That's how companies like Kaspersky and AVG came out with fully Vista compliant versions of their software months ago. Software which works extremely well, by the way. (Kaspersky passed this test. It says so right in the article.)
  • Hello Symantec... I'd never trust the OS manufacturer to be responsible for its security anyone, but even less so considering MS's reputation for security...
    • That's exactly what I'm afraid of.

      Symantec is a pile of shit, frankly. I was actually hoping that Microsoft's AV would at least force Symantec and McAffee to get their shit together and make an antivirus that doesn't suck.

      AV that's as much as a system hog as the notorious Norton is a pain in the ass, especially on Windows Vista. :|

      • by BCoates (512464) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @01:51AM (#17917442)
        ... Symantec and McAffee to get their shit together and make an antivirus that doesn't suck.

        I'm not sure such a thing is even possible anymore. The usefulness of AV software has always been pretty questionable, and they never seem to have gotten over the threat model of months or years-old viruses being passed from floppy to floppy. Most threats are one-off now, like social engineering spam, one-day long trojan horse attacks, adware, and exploiting OS vulnerabilities to run spam zombies. As far as I can tell, my resource-hogging, system-destabilizing virus scanner does effectively nothing against any of those and there's no reason to believe it can be changed to do so.
        • by Kazoo the Clown (644526) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @01:23PM (#17923634)

          As far as I can tell, my resource-hogging, system-destabilizing virus scanner does effectively nothing against any of those and there's no reason to believe it can be changed to do so.


          ABSOLUTELY. I gave up on AV programs some time ago. A good firewall, firewall-like execution protection such as Process Guard, not using the most popular email programs or web browsers, and severely restricting web-based application execution (i.e., boycott ActiveX and hamstring Java and Javascript) are far more effective techniques for tripping up a virus as such attacks will almost always try to 1) exploit networking applications most common to the OS, 2) try to run some kind of executable that you haven't run before, and/or 3) attempt some kind of network operation in order to propagate itself. Trying to recognize virus signatures is a lousy use of CPU resources, and has not been seen to be very effective.


          AV software companies are addicted to the subscription model that signature-based AV provides, and consequently are in a serious conflict-of-interest with regards to best security practices. Symantec in particular seems to be short of ideas for an alternative business model, and have opted instead to whine like a six-year-old who's mommy won't let them buy candy at the checkstand.

  • bad logic (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by dave420 (699308)
    So delays mean they should have AV wrapped up? That is a completely baseless statement. What if they were working on that right up until the launch? It doesn't excuse the AV situation, but it would mean his statement is bullshit. I'm all for activism, but straight-up being a little girl about it doesn't help.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      You're calling him a little girl because he has bad logic? Then... ipso facto, you're proclaiming to us a love for unicorns and Barbie dolls?

      In an unrelated topic: I don't think the statement is baseless. IIRC, Gates responds to "OSX had it first" with "yeah, but we got delayed in order to secure the product first" (paraphrased, of course). Shouldn't we then expect a higher level of security then?
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:52PM (#17916272)

    Maybe the ClamAV [clamav.net] people ought to submit their program for testing.

  • by bhirsch (785803) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:53PM (#17916282) Homepage
    A VB100 badge means little or nothing to these companies, much less their consumers.
    • Exactly right (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Freaky Spook (811861)
      Most home users wouldn't even knew the VB100 badge exists.

      In that market, anti-virus sales are all about glossy packaging on shelves and fancy flash advertisments.

      If their AV fails and windows gets a virus, its Windows problem, not the AV problem.

      Microsoft are in a loose/loose market, but they stand to make money off joe-sixpack so they don't care.
      • by rbanffy (584143)

        In that market, anti-virus sales are all about glossy packaging on shelves and fancy flash advertisments.

        I would add a lot of fear-mongering to the mix. Sowing panic is a powerful marketing tool.

    • by zCyl (14362) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @12:12AM (#17916760)

      A VB100 badge means little or nothing to these companies, much less their consumers.
      Most users would just assume that's the next version of Visual Basic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BlackRookSix (943957)
      Wrong. I was in an AV company for a while, and this is like the Oscars to them. Everything rides on their reputation, and this rating (along with The Pundits Choice Awards: Garner reports) can make or break a small company trying to break into corporate clients. Their sales people now face a HUGE uphill battle that they may never surmount, even if they make the VB100 next test phase.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Apathist (741707)
        You're spot on with how important it is to their reputation, but the fact is that the VB100 award had become something of a rubber stamp, due to the way it was being tested (ie. all the AV vendors knew in advance exactly what they were being tested against).

        What is important about this particular round of VB100 tests is that this was the first round of tests after they changed the way the test was done (to make it more representative of what AV protection needs to actually be out in the wild, and hence mo
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Hello,

          I think it is a bit disingenuous to say that the reason some of the tested programs failed to receive a VB100 award had anything to do with changes to the test procedures used by Virus Bulletin Magazine. The tests consist of ItW (In The Wild), macro, polymorphic, file infector virus "zoos," with ItW and macro tests being repeated for both scheduled on-demand scanning and on-access (file I/O wedge) scanning, plus a set of clean files which are used to test for false positives. You can vie
  • by ThinkFr33ly (902481) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @10:56PM (#17916302)
    This has nothing to do with Vista, and everything to do with crappy anti-virus products. Neither OneCare or McAfee for XP have ever tested well, so why would anybody think that they would test well on Vista?

    If you read the entire article, you'll notice a little blurb at the end that several vendors passed the test, one of which was Kaspersky [kaspersky.com]. Another excellent vendor for Vista is AVG [grisoft.com].

    Kaspersky consistantly beats [cybernetnews.com] all the other major anti-virus vendors, but I guess the story wouldn't be quite as Slashdot-worthy if it ready "Kaspersky Anti-Virus on Vista Works Great!".
  • I hate to say it, but Microsoft were right for once in their earlier VISTA policy of locking down the practice of hooking into the kernel. It's that feature in XP that allows malware to flourish. Just because MS made mistakes years ago that spawned an entire industry (the anti-virus industry), doesn't mean that industry necessarily has the right to continue to exist in its current form.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      ---I hate to say it, but Microsoft were right for once in their earlier VISTA policy of locking down the practice of hooking into the kernel.

      Locking down along with no source code is simply security by obscurity. There WILL be bugs found, and those bugs will have kernel rights. Do you think that is good? Guess what, I dont.

      Vista will only reassure that bug releasers should not publish bugs, but rather sit on them. BTW, how do you clean out a kernel-infected Windows machine?

      ---It's that feature in XP that al
      • I agree with everything you say! I'm simply saying that the lack of strict access privileges in the kernel level of previous MS operating systems has created the A/V industry. And they are now crying foul because they were not allowed to use the very hooks that allowed malware to spread in the first place. Of course the kernel should both be open source, AND have strict controls on access to kernel memory space.. like Linux.
        • But they didnt lock the kernel down for the benefit of us users, they instead locked it down for a purely content driven media delivery tool.

          That means we have even less access to their system. This applies to tinkerers AND system trashers.

          I wonder what "premium content" spyware could do?
      • Re:Hate to say it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by the_womble (580291) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @01:41AM (#17917392) Homepage Journal
        What do you think is bad: Trashing the whole system, or trashing your ~ ? A system can be reinstalled, but most people dont back up their data.

        If we talking about trashing the system instead of trashing ~, you would be right in the case of a single user system.

        However, we are talking about trashing everything, against trashing just ~. Obviously just ~ is better.

        In the case of a multi-user system, trashing one users ~ is much better than trashing everything. Most home PCs are multi users. Office PCs are invariably single user, but they should get backed up.

        It is much easier to back up a single user's directory than an entire system.

        Finally, limited access to the system makes it harder for viruses to propagate. How is it going to run again after a log out? Most people do not regularly run executables from their own directories: the executables they do run will not be infected. Certainly something like bash_profile or an autostart directory, but cleaning these up should be trivial. Am I missing anything here?

      • by drsmithy (35869)

        Locking down along with no source code is simply security by obscurity.

        Untrue. It reduces the surface area for attack by reducing the amount of code typically running at privileged levels.

        There WILL be bugs found, and those bugs will have kernel rights. Do you think that is good? Guess what, I dont.

        Bugs and bad practices are two wholly separate issues.

      • by vadim_t (324782)

        Is there an executable preventer on Linux? Nosiree, there's nothing preventing a user from affecting his own dataspace. What do you think is bad: Trashing the whole system, or trashing your ~ ? A system can be reinstalled, but most people dont back up their data.

        Yes there is, it's called "grsecurity". There's a kernel patch, quite widely integrated in some distributions (gentoo hardened-sources package say). One of the options is disabling execution completely from non-root-owned directories. So it basical

        • or you can put /home on a separate partition, and mount it with the noexec option.
          • by vadim_t (324782)
            That too, but it's a much less fine-grained approach.

            grsecurity allows defining a group that can bypass this requirement (say, the normal user account for the admin) or the reverse (making only the users belonging to the group be limited). It's also a lot more fine-grained. For instance, making /var noexec would break CGIs, while with grsecurity you can make sure that CGIs still run, but anything not approved by the admin (by being placed inside a root owned directory only writable by root) doesn't. Since n
  • by madsheep (984404) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @11:00PM (#17916332) Homepage
    I heard they also didn't earn the WTF200 or the LOL500. Based on failing to get the three of these certifcations and seeing how all three of them are as equally popular..this software will surely be going no where.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      But it was certified by the IOACA (Internationall Organization for the Advancement of Criminal Activity).
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      However, even one installation of Vista is well above LD50 in geeks.
  • Great Sales Pitch (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zonnald (182951) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @11:01PM (#17916340)
    Tried to follow the links to the report to see what the fuss was about. First I was told I had to register for Free. I did that then clicked on the report - only to be told I had to subscribe. Not going to happen.

    For obvious reasons I will leave it to the reader to decide if they want to go and have a look, no links will be provided.

  • Vista doesn't come with a antivirus program.
    Live OneCare, Mcafee are not specific Vista -- You can install them on XP too.

    And 99.99% detection rate is nothing to be sneered at.
  • why am I supposed to upgrade to Vista?
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @11:06PM (#17916380)

    The other products are McAfee's VirusScan Enterprise, G DATA's AntiVirusKit 2007, and Norman's VirusControl.
    Norman's VirusControl. Yeah, that doesn't look like an attempt to market a product that deliberately sounds like a competitor...

    Now, if you're excuse me, I need to get back to setting up my Linkskey router...
  • Microsoft's anti-virus was 'much-hyped'? I don't recall any Microsoft anti-virus software being much-hyped. Where was I during this hyping? Cynically scoffed at maybe, but I don't remember much hype going on.
  • Steve: We need to have Vista committed to security.
    Bill: You mean make all our security programmers wear straight-jackets and prescribed large doses of anti-psychotic drugs.
    Steve: I guess so.
    Bill: OK, get right on it.
  • by djupedal (584558) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @11:18PM (#17916454)
    "With the number of delays that we've seen in Vista's release, there's no excuse for security vendors not to have got their products right by now..."

    Security vendors. They're all alike. They say they come to help...to save us from all things dark, but in their black hearts, they all want the same thing. They all want to RULE the earth!
  • Better Solution (Score:2, Informative)

    by MikeDataLink (536925)
    I think the better solution is to get noobs to be better educated on how to avoid spyware and viruses, etc in the first place.

    This website has a great video I think all noobs should be required to watch BEFORE owning a computer.
    http://www.my-pc-help.com/video/v10017.htm [my-pc-help.com]

    An ounce of prevention is always better than the cure.
    • Prevention may be better than cure, but did you know that, contrary to the popular adage, an ounce of prevention is actually worth much less than a pound of cure? Its simply the law of supply and demand. Most people lack the foresight to use prevention, so they run for cure when the shit hits the fan. This leaves large quantities of prevention just sitting in warehouses, collecting dust. They even buried a few tons of it next to those E.T. games for the 2600. Due to this oversupply, and the huge demand
    • by Falladir (1026636)
      I think the better solution is to get noobs to be better educated on how to avoid spyware and viruses, etc in the first place.

      Yeah, but Windows was so un-secured and so prone to attack that even semi-competent users can wreck there systems. I doubt that Microsoft consists of such utter dullards that Vista will be *easier* to crack than XP, but even if it's a good deal harder, it will still be broken enough for spyware to get out and for botnets to persist.

      Also, there's the occasional "aww fuck, did I
    • Way to pimp your own site..... noob
    • Because if "educating the users" had a chance of work, it would have had an effect some 30 years after computers started to become interconnected which initially opened this risk. There is no excuse for irresponsible usage but to lay the blame on the users for being dumb is erroneously placing the fault because there is an equal amount of blame on the vendor for allowing the situation to arise easily. Simply put, systems should be engineered to avoid destroying themselves from normal usage. Many infectio
  • by Aryeh Goretsky (129230) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @11:29PM (#17916500) Homepage
    Hello,

    I shared my thoughts on this over here [neowin.net] on Neowin.Net's forums, so I really don't just want to do a cut-and-paste job and post what I wrote in verbatim here.

    This is one of the first of a series of comparisons to include Microsoft Windows Live OneCare that Virus Bulletin [virusbtn.com] Magazine has been doing for many years. While I suspect it is more frustrating than embarrassing at this point for the team responsible for Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare, this is really Microsoft's first attempt at providing their own comprehensive anti-malware solution—MSAV [wikipedia.org], the product which shipped with DOS does not count, it was licensed from Central Point Software (who was later acquired by Symantec) who, in turn, had licensed the software from Carmel Software—and it is going to take some time and lots of signature release cycles in order to get their detection rate fine-tuned.

    I don't expect this first Virus Bulletin product comparison to be the last, and the question really isn't how Microsoft did this time: It is how their product does over the next year or two that matters. If it gets worse or stays the same, they are just another competitor in the space (albeit the one with the deepest products). If, however, their detection rate improves, it is going to make it just that much more difficult for their competitors to compete against them.

    As a disclaimer of sorts, I should mention that happen I work for one of the computer security companies that Microsoft competes against with this products, so this dicussion is far from academic for me. Frankly, though, I'm not expecting Microsoft's entry into this space to have any effect on my employer—we are good at what we do and have a very loyal customer base. Also, we tend to compete against other, similarly-sized companies in the field. What I do worry about, though, is how some of my friends and colleagues at the largest companies are going to handle Microsoft's entrance as they are going to be competing head-to-head against Microsoft for marketshare.


    Regards,

    Aryeh Goretsky
    • The Netscape engineers thought they had a loyal following and they where very good at what they
      did also....poof gone

      Foxpro had a loyal following and great engineers....poof gone

      DR Dos had a loyal following and great engineers....poof gone

      Word Perfect had a loyal following and great engineers...poof gone

      You probably have a loyal following and great engineers....yea you guessed it, poof gone
  • So what? For someone only wanting basic protection, its probably good enough. For someone wanting better antivirus protection, they'll get another antivirus program. Is this supposed to be big news?
  • Strange... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Critical_ (25211) on Tuesday February 06, 2007 @11:37PM (#17916556) Homepage
    Has anyone bothered to do some fact/typo checking before posting this stuff?

    Microsoft's offering was one of four suites which failed to detect all malware. The others were G-Data AntiVirusKit 2007 v.17.0.6353, McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.1i and Norman Virus Control 5.90.

    See, I run McAfee VirusScan Enterprise on Desktops and Servers here without problems. The latest version in the 8.0 line is 8.0i patch 15 [mcafeehelp.com]. The Vista-compatible version is 8.5i [mcafeehelp.com] which also works on Windows XP. There is no version 8.1i that I know of. Obviously this doesn't change the message that McAfee didn't earn the seal but I've never had problems with the VirusScan Enterprise line. To be frank, I've never encountered a single infection or uncontrolled virus problem on our network.

    Plus, who honestly uses just *one* virus scanner on the perimeter of their Microsoft Server-system based network? I certainly don't. For example, Exchange 2003 server on the perimeter runs software from GFI which has three separate virus scanning engines. This coupled with application executable hash-based protection offered in BlackICE takes care of the rest of the problems at the desktop/server level. It's the price we pay for using MS software.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sporkmonger (922923)
      I've had problems with it. Namely this problem [zdnet.com]. We ended up having almost every install of Office corrupted, as well as huge numbers of random system files as a result. My previous employer had to run System Restore on virtually every single computer on the network. The only computers that weren't down that day were the servers that were running Solaris and the Macs in the QA department. After that experience, I swore I'd never willingly install any of McAfee's products again.
    • Hello,

      I just checked the review (have Virus Bulletin subscription at work) and it is indeed McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.5i that was reviewed.

      Regards,

      Aryeh Goretsky
  • According to the BBC article on this matter [bbc.co.uk], Live One care failed the test because it only detected 99.91% of the malware rather than 100%. And McAfee and the others did better but didn't achieve 100%. So, yes they failed, but at least talk about this in the proper context by using the actual numbers, instead of linking to a blog entry with the sensationalistic headline "Microsoft's Vista anti-virus solution slammed". Does slashdot not even *want* to have any credibility?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sadsfth (593188)
      "Live One care failed the test because it only detected 99.91% of the malware rather than 100%. "

      If we extrapolate the data does this mean that of the known 100,000+ pieces of malware targeting windows we're only in danger of 9,000+ pieces.

      If so what a relief;-)
    • by grcumb (781340)

      Live One care failed the test because it only detected 99.91% of the malware rather than 100%.

      So you're okay with having all of your Vista machines get fucked up 0.01% of the time?

      That's a legitimate question, by the way. There are good reasons to answer 'yes' to it, but we need to be clear that relying on that service implies an acceptance of risk that is greater than that of some of its competitors.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ThinkFr33ly (902481)

      Does slashdot not even *want* to have any credibility?
      You must be new here.
  • This is really a test of the scan engine and database. You would most likely get the exact same results from using the same product on all platforms they sell it on. Since they didn't test the same products on XP (why VirusBulletin always skips around with OS is beyond me), I am not sure how anyone could make any correlation to Vista versions of antiviruses.
  • Terrible Tagging (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Guanine (883175) on Wednesday February 07, 2007 @12:13AM (#17916766)
    This may be tough on my karma, but I have to get it out: goddammit what's with the worthless tagging? I know the feature's beta, but if I see "haha" or "yes" followed by "no" one more time ... (ok I have no recourse). But seriously guys this feature is supposed to, as far as I can tell, eventually provide a useful augmentation or even replacement for search. Please try not to screw it up.
  • NOD32. Low resource usage and high effectiveness. What more can you ask for?
    • by Phil John (576633)

      And fantastic support. The initial release for Vista kept crashing my computer on login, then on boot. Not even safe mode worked.

      ESET took around a week and a half, but tracked down the problem, and released a new version that fixed it. And I'm not a corp customer with hundreds of licenses, that's damn good service in my book.

    • by b0bby (201198)
      Yep, I'm running NOD32 & happy - it has been effective, yet has a small footprint. Just what I want.
  • New tag (Score:2, Funny)

    by arpy (587497)
    defectivebyaccident
  • I'm still trying to find out how F-secure passed this test.

    I don't know how many times I had to do virus cleanup on an F-secure PC because it couldn't delete the file, or it would happily let the virus run in the background, or not detect it at all. and that if it's running, since it wouldn't run in safe mode and half the time get corrupted by the virus.
  • AVG (Score:2, Interesting)

    by egandalf (1051424)
    AVG has earned this certification, as noted on their website, for their professional version at least. Their website doesn't specify whether the free version is VB100 also, but I would assume it does since they both should run on the same AV engine.

    Did I mention they have a free version? For 9x/XP/Vista AND Linux?

    Yeah.
  • I like the bash M$ when it's due but in this case they're no worse than products from these other guys: McAfee's VirusScan Enterprise, G DATA's AntiVirusKit 2007, and Norman's VirusControl. Yet the headline makes it seem like M$ was the only brand to not pass the litmus test...riight

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