Independent research confirms Vista spyware holes

PC Tools has announced the results of an independent comparison by Enex Testlab of anti-spyware software including Microsoft Vista's own Windows Defender.

The spyware and utilities specialist used Enex Testlab, an indie test lab in Australia, to carry out its research, which involved seeing how Windows Defender stacked up against Spyware Doctor and other third party vendors.

And the conclusion? Spyware Doctor was the conclusive overall winner.

Matt Tett, the senior test engineer with Enex TestLab, said that the company had taken a look at several anti-spyware vendors over time to determine the current level of accuracy against spyware threats in 2006.

"These results show Vista requires more work to protect users. Third party security vendors-especially in the area of anti-spyware are still essential components in protecting users," he explained.

Tett says that he and his team have been watching the development of Vista's security effort with interest.

Simon Clausen, CEO of PC Tools, said that the independent results from Enex Testlab illustrate how Microsoft must continue to improve the Vista security component to protect consumers.

Recently, he said, a third party vendor chose its own testing sample-set and performed basic tests out of their own threat research lab.

They also reported weaknesses in the spyware blocking capability of Windows Defender.

"While we agree with the overriding conclusion that Vista security is lacking, this approach fundamentally contradicts the laws of statistical analysis, and clearly creates a bias result," he said.

"By hand-picking the sample-set, it is easy to return results showing whatever you want. It would even be possible to show Vista had zero per cent blocking ability," he added.

According to the Enex test results, when analysed over the full year, Windows Defender was able to block only 46.61 per cent of dangerous threats while their full scan blocked 53.39 per cent.

PC Tools' Spyware Doctor in quick scan mode, meanwhile. blocked 83.26 per cent of threats, whilst the full scan blocked 88.69 per cent.

According to Clausen, these independent results demonstrate that users of Vista must continue to rely on third party products such as PC Tools' Spyware Doctor to keep them secure from spyware and other malware threats....