Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

10/13/2009
04:49 PM
Sara Peters
Sara Peters
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

In Support of Poor Ol' Windows Vista

We just released the October issue of the CSI Alert to CSI members, and this month we focus on Windows 7. This issue is, in some ways, a follow-up to last year's issue, "The Fate of the Secure OS," in which I said some nice things about Windows Vista, and advised it would be imprudent to completely ignore Windows Vista -- eyes-closed, fingers-in-ears, chanting I'm-not-listening-I'm-not-listening.

We just released the October issue of the CSI Alert to CSI members, and this month we focus on Windows 7. This issue is, in some ways, a follow-up to last year's issue, "The Fate of the Secure OS," in which I said some nice things about Windows Vista, and advised it would be imprudent to completely ignore Windows Vista -- eyes-closed, fingers-in-ears, chanting I'm-not-listening-I'm-not-listening.For supporting Vista I received some abuse. My thoughts were described as "rubbish" by one person and "poppycock" by another. So apparently I'm not popular with Victorian-era gentlemen, which is unfortunate because I like the smoking jackets. However, I'm not counting those lost friendships as much of a loss because it isn't as though they would have allowed me into their gentlemen's clubs to drink brandy and play billiards anyway.

So I stand by my earlier comments in support of poor Vista. Vista was a trailblazer, harangued and maligned by a world that wasn't ready for it. Blamed for the failings of application and device driver developers and for the limitations of aging hardware. Criticized for being too heavy-handed with the security warnings given to protect reckless security-unsavvy users from themselves.

And now, to top it all off, starting Oct. 22 Vista will have to share store shelves with its more easy-going, better-behaved, better-loved little sister, Windows 7 -- Microsoft's new client operating system that has been receiving a steady stream of positive reviews from reviewers seemingly surprised to be writing them.

Windows 7's most charming feature isn't really a feature at all, but rather its knack for just working without making a nuisance of itself. At its core, Windows 7 is exactly the same operating system as Vista, but it has been slimmed down, cleaned up, and fine-tuned -- which is precisely what Vista needed -- so it does what Vista does, but more efficiently and by drawing less attention to itself.

True, Windows 7 is the first Microsoft operating system that doesn't require more processing power than its predecessor. And true User Account Control (UAC) in Windows 7 is a little more flexible, a little more relaxed so you won't be pestered by so many of UAC's notorious privilege escalation prompts. Plus it does have some new, exciting features that are uniquely "7" -- like DirectAccess, BranchCache, VPN Reconnect, and BitLocker To Go. (These tools might collectively be the most compelling reasons to upgrade to Windows 7 because they might make it significantly simpler to provide remote/mobile workers with secure remote access to corporate resources...without VPNs, even.)

But it must nonetheless be said that the limelight will shine more kindly on Windows 7 because the world is now prepared to handle it. After making so many fundamental OS architecture changes to develop Vista -- changes, by the way, that would improve security by making app developers stop requiring admin access for even the simplest actions -- Microsoft had to drag third-party developers, kicking and screaming, to make their applications and device drivers Vista-compatible. Now, however, almost all Vista-compatible applications and drivers will also be compatible with 7. Most businesses and home users have upgraded their hardware since Vista was released in December 2006, or are due for an upgrade, which means more machines have the processing power to smoothly run these richer, heftier operating systems.

Maybe it's the big sister in me that's keen to defend Vista, but just as I joyously state that my little sister is far superior to me, I can state that Windows 7 is probably a better operating system than Vista -- and (when combined with Windows Server 2008 R2) might be the operating system for securely managing a mobile workforce.

Read on for more in the October CSI Alert.

Sara Peters is senior editor at Computer Security Institute. Special to Dark Reading. Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/10/2020
Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
Healthcare Industry Sees Respite From Attacks in First Half of 2020
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  8/13/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: It's a technique known as breaking out of the sandbox kids.
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-20383
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
ABBYY network license server in ABBYY FineReader 15 before Release 4 (aka 15.0.112.2130) allows escalation of privileges by local users via manipulations involving files and using symbolic links.
CVE-2020-24348
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
njs through 0.4.3, used in NGINX, has an out-of-bounds read in njs_json_stringify_iterator in njs_json.c.
CVE-2020-24349
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
njs through 0.4.3, used in NGINX, allows control-flow hijack in njs_value_property in njs_value.c. NOTE: the vendor considers the issue to be "fluff" in the NGINX use case because there is no remote attack surface.
CVE-2020-7360
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
An Uncontrolled Search Path Element (CWE-427) vulnerability in SmartControl version 4.3.15 and versions released before April 15, 2020 may allow an authenticated user to escalate privileges by placing a specially crafted DLL file in the search path. This issue was fixed in version 1.0.7, which was r...
CVE-2020-24342
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-13
Lua through 5.4.0 allows a stack redzone cross in luaO_pushvfstring because a protection mechanism wrongly calls luaD_callnoyield twice in a row.