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Anti-Spyware Firms Find Weaknesses in Microsoft’s Windows Defender

PC Tools has made public the findings of an independent research by Enex Testlab on anti-spyware programs with respect to Microsoft's Windows Defender. The company engaged independent testing firm, Enex Testlab to compare Windows Defender against products of other security vendors.

Enex Testlab has evaluated a number of anti-spyware vendors to find how far they are currently accurate against spyware attacks in 2006, said Matt Tett, senior test engineer for the lab in a company press release. The results indicate that Vista requires further advancement to protect Internet users. Third-party vendors dealing in anti-spyware continue to be important players in safeguarding users, Tett said.

Through the research, PC Tools has been observing with interest the phases of development in Vista security of Microsoft, said Simon Clausen, CEO of PC Tools. He said they were aware of the challenges Microsoft was encountering due to ever-widening scope of dangerous malware threats while also putting its best efforts to ensure compatibility and usability. The objective of the research was to draw a comparison of real-world threats over a long period of time, explained Clausen.

The aggregate test results by Enex for 2006 show that the quick scan of Microsoft's Defender could block only 46.61% of the high-risk threats while its full scan was able to capture 53.39% of the threats.

Other security vendors' researches also showed deficiencies in Vista's security demonstrating insufficient blocking abilities, low speed in updates, and lack of strong anti-spyware protection. Enex's independent research results suggest that Microsoft should continue to work on the Vista security feature to protect users.

Security firm Webroot recently released results that were based on a two-week study of Windows Defender. These results indicated that the product was not able to detect 84% of a sample of 25 spyware and malicious code. The programs that it missed were a collection of Trojan horses, spyware and keyloggers. While many of the programs were Vista incompatible and just collapsed, others proved compatible with Vista.

While Gerhard Eschelbeck, CTO of Webroot applauded improvements in Vista operating system; he cautioned users to recognize its limitations such that Microsoft's malware blocking tools and anti-virus products may not entirely guard them.

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