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Win 7's Malware Infection Rate Climbs, XP's Falls

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  • by black6host (469985) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @06:00PM (#36112738)

    What would one expect as usage of XP decreases and Win7 increases?

    • by Khoa (935586) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @06:02PM (#36112774) Homepage

      What would one expect as usage of XP decreases and Win7 increases?

      The changing usage rate between the two OS's is controlled for. FTFA: It's infection rate per 1000 machines.

      • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @06:21PM (#36112958) Homepage

        The changing usage rate will also drive malware authors to concentrate on Win7.

      • by Dthief (1700318)
        yes, but fewer are making malware for XP, because of the lower usage and move to Vista & 7 so although the numbers are normalized, the obvious trend of people focusing on the more popular versions to infect is exactly what one would expect "as usage of XP decreases and Win7 increases"
        • Depends on how OS agnostic the malware is: For basic trojan/social engineering style stuff, I would tend to expect that anything designed to work with 7's somewhat tighter security structure would also work with XP. Only for things that require exploits specific to particular versions would a focus on 7 be directly protective of XP.

          I suspect that the fact that 7 now means "home user" while XP is increasingly the domain of control-freak corporates has a lot to do with it.
      • have less accidents than Honda Accords, per 1000 vehicles. Hmm....
        • by rhook (943951)

          If you read the article you will see the XP has 14 infections per 1000 machines while Windows 7 only has 4 infections per 1000 machines.

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        If this keeps-up my WinXP computer will actually be *safer* than the my recent Win7 purchase.

        Of course the safest OS I own is GEOS-64. No viruses whatsoever on 8 bit machines! And the second-safest is the 64-bit AmigaOS (because very few use it). Looks like XP is headed down the path of security through obscurity.

      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        Point is that much if not most of modern malware is done in the name of profit. As a result, the higher installed base goes, the more effort will be done to infect the machines.

        In this regard, both absolute amount and amount proportional to total installed base should shift towards w7, as has happened.

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Not to mention TFS is badly written. if you look at the actual figures Win 7 32 bit infections rose from 3 per 1000 to 4 per 1000 whereas XP went from 18 infected per 1000 to 14 per 1000 which is pretty damned good numbers for Windows 7, especially considering how many completely clueless users are picking up Windows 7 right now. So to only have an infection rate of 4 per 1000 when you have the "granny demographic" that still haven't figured out the difference between memory and HDD space? I'd say those num

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        I got a feature. Multiple Desktops. Unix/Linux has had this feature for longer than I can recall. I wish Windows would support this natively. No, none of the current hacks that provide similar functionality work as well as the same features on Linux.
        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Ya know, I've heard Linux guys blab about this one for but you know what? We Windows users DO NOT WANT and have no desire for alt tabbing all over the damned place. I mean I have to deal with users that won't open control panel because they think it is scary, can you imagine what kinds of support calls you'd be getting if shit could open on desktop 3 and they are on desktop 1?

          But if you truly want that shit you CAN have it without a bunch of hacky bullshit. Hell you can even have the desktop look and act li

          • We Windows users DO NOT WANT and have no desire for alt tabbing all over the damned place.

            So who has to alt tab? I have a small display of my 12 desktops. I can see which ones are running emacs, firefox, or a terminal.
            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              Man you have NO idea what the general skill level of your average home user is, do you? Dude i'm talking people that are fucking AMAZED when I use alt-tab or WinFlip, and alt tab has been there what? Ten damned years? And WinFlip for 5 now? Hell most of them still haven't figured out how in the hell to use the new taskbar in Windows 7, or how they have those jumplists, you REALLY think they are gonna understand virtual desktops? Please! I still have trouble getting some of them to understand the differences

    • by drsmithy (35869)

      What would one expect as usage of XP decreases and Win7 increases?

      The commonly accepted "wisdom" on Slashdot is that marketshare is irrelevant. Ergo, infection rates should not change.

      • by erroneus (253617)

        The infection rate depends on targeting the gullible. I'm just going to say it directly because it's the simple truth. As more users change operating systems, the target changes to follow them.

        Especially of late, malware targets the users more than it targets machines with particular OSes.

        I think it is just about time that people give a rest to the "which is more secure" debate...at least not where malware is concerned. Malware doesn't need root or administrator to do damage -- it just needs to run. Per

        • by drsmithy (35869)

          Microsoft's kernels simply aren't built right to take advantage of i386 as illustrated by the device driver model.

          Huh ?

          • by erroneus (253617)

            Drivers running at ring-0 is not necessary. A device driver with complete access to the kernel is not necessary and frequently causes problems when they misbehave. In the early days, programmers used to bypass the BIOS by writing directly to the hardware for better performance. But by breaking the rules, they cursed the environment preventing good evolution in development. But when the i386 came into being, the promise of a good evolution was renewed. But then Microsoft went and spoiled it by making dr

          • Microsoft's kernels simply aren't built right to take advantage of i386 as illustrated by the device driver model.

            Huh ?

            He's correct. The only "mainstream" (past/present) OS that actually utilized the CPU's protection levels to any decent extent was OS/2 - which is also why it was a bitch to run in numerous virtual machines (most notably due to poor virtual Ring 2 support). And in reality, Microsoft glomming a whole bunch of things into Ring 0 is a step backwards.

      • The commonly accepted Wisdom is that marketshare is not the most important factor. So, for example, if a more secure OS became more popular than a less secure OS, it would be more targeted, but still safer than the other. Like how XP went down but is still at .18%, and 7 went up but is only at .04%, for example.

        (Does anyone else feel like those numbers are ludicrously low?)

    • Win7 was supposed to be something that had technologies at the heart of it to protect users. Serious protection. I've seen a spike in my shop of Win7 infections, especially 64bit. And, on top of that these guys have been owning the machines, literally taking over and disabling the whole puzzle in order to stay active on the computer. It's really amazing.

      Win7 has been owned by these malware authors and I only expect it to get worse. Getting rid of the malware always leaves damage, such as disabled featu

  • by ferongr (1929434) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @06:03PM (#36112780)

    TFA: As ComputerWorld reports, during the second half of 2010, the data shows that 32bit Windows 7 computers were infected at an average rate of 4 PCs per 1,000, compared to 3 PCs per 1,000 that took place during the first half of 2010.

    A difference of 1 thousandth is beyond statistical significance. How did this entry even get to the frontpage? It boggles the mind.

    • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @06:26PM (#36113006) Homepage

      That is not a difference of one thousandth. It is a difference of 33%.

      • by dhavleak (912889)

        Not sure if you're joking or serious. You know it's both right? 3 thousadths of win7 PCs used to be infected, now 4 thousdandths are infected. That's a difference of 1 thousandths, or 33%, depending on how you choose to represent it.

        Lastly -- that's only for 32-bit win7. 64-bit win7 is more resiliant according to the article, but not enough data to work out exactly what that means (before and after numbers from x64 win7 not provided, relative installed base of 32 and 64 bit win7 not provided).

      • by Idbar (1034346)
        That is actually a one thousandth difference. You're mistakenly confusing it with a 33% "increase". You may as well go ahead an say it was a whole 100% computer.
    • According to the Microsoft Report [microsoft.com] this is based on a sample size of 600 million computers. That is plenty large enough for the results to be statistically significant.

      It was trollish for the summary to omit that Windows 7 still has 1/5 of the infection rate of Windows XP, though.

    • by stms (1132653)
      What boggles my mind is that Microsoft can announce "3 or 4 in 1000 computers running Windows are infected" and think anyone will believe them.
      • by dhavleak (912889)
        I could believe them.. you think it's less than that? I know Win7 is pretty rock solid, but users will still find ways to defeat security measures, y'know..
    • Anti-Microsoft article boggling the mind?

      You must be...

  • "Microsoft released data today showcasing that Windows 7's malware infection rate has climbed by more than 30% during the second half of 2010...

    In fairness it was the most secure Windows ever. It lasted longer than XP.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      The horrible thing about it is all the fanboys screaming about it being impregnable has led to otherwise intelligent people being convinced that it is safe enough to use without antivirus. Thus even a *nix guy like me has had to wade through malware shit and clean the Win7 boxes (that really should be reinstalled from scratch) because it consumes more time than those who only work on the MS platform have. Yes it's more secure than Win95 but it still has the a similar policy of trusting nearly everything.
  • Except (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dunbal (464142) * on Thursday May 12, 2011 @06:17PM (#36112922)

    Microsoft calculated the infection rates using its Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) by detecting and deleting selected malware such as fake antivirus programs, worms, viruses, and trojans.

    One VERY important point is that Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool considers certain programs which can be used to bypass Windows Activation as "malware", which is probably skewing the results.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Almost everybody who pirates Windows 7 does so using Windows Loader which, once they started encrypting it, has never been targeted by MSRT.

  • by hduff (570443) <hoytduff AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday May 12, 2011 @06:38PM (#36113116) Homepage Journal

    Same clueless users.

  • by metalmaster (1005171) on Thursday May 12, 2011 @06:40PM (#36113134)
    The article doesnt cover this, but im inclined to believe that malware authors have an easier time and higher infection rates when they target 3rd party software packages. As far as i know, the biggest thing to change from XP to Win7, from the user standpoint, is the more in your face security model. That makes the malware authors jump through extra hoops if they wanna get their code executed silently. However, attack a bug in a PDF reader or browser and things can be made to look like business as usual
    • Humans are always going to be the weak link. Cause too many alerts, get the operator to shut that alert mechanism down, and hey, presto!

      UAC window, anyone?

      • That was sort of addressed in transition from Vista to 7. Vista would throw up a UAC prompt if you looked at your monitor the wrong way. Windows 7 only does so when you sneeze
      • by Bengie (1121981)

        It only alerts when something is trying to change system settings. It's not MS's fault it pops up so much, it's all the fail software that want admin privs.

        Effectively, any software that prompts UAC would not run correctly without admin. Just goes to show how much software would break from faulty designs.

  • No malware for my IBM 5120. The old are far to wise for that malarkey!
  • by smash (1351)

    ... even with those figures, i'm still repairing a lot more Windows XP machines.

    If you turn off UAC / run as admin, and put a retard at the controls, Windows 7 will get infected by "free antivirus" software just as easily as anything else.

    This is more a symptom of it being adopted by regular end users rather than bleeding edge types than any new inherent security problems discovered in 7.

  • Article makes it sound like Win7 is getting inundated with viruses, but when you look at the counts it paints a different story.

    Windows 7: Increase of 33%
    1Q2010: 3/1000
    2Q2010: 4/1000 - 64 Bit: 2.5/1000

    Windows XP: Decrease of 22%
    1Q2010: 18/1000
    2Q2010:14/1000

    Basically, You're still safer using windows 7 vs other Windows versions.

    Current Numbers from MS are Here. [microsoft.com] Not exactly sure how computerworld got those numbers since MS numbers are higher and lower than others but there you go.

  • Why does /. fuck up under IE9. I want concrete standards compliance issues.

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