I just got a new Dell laptop delivered with Vista pre-installed at a nice price, but was rather less than impressed by the leaflet that came with the machine, extolling Vista's fantastic graphics and security capabilities...
Security capabilities? Excuse me - is this the same 64-bit operating system whose security can be circumvented with a free utility that loads unsigned drivers into the kernel?
That's what Symantec said this week.
Amongst 64-bit Vista's security features (and I use that term loosely) is a provision that only digitally-signed code can be loaded into the kernel of the operating system.
This means that program code destined for the kernel - which typically means drivers -- must have a signed certificate before it can be loaded. This is to stop any rootkit nasties.
Symantec, however, has pointed to Atsiv, a free utility from Australian developer LinchpinLabs, as an easy workaround.
Interestingly, one of LinchpinLabs' developers, identified as `Dan' has argued on Rootkit.com that Vista's signing requirement "doesn't prevent malware, it just prohibits freedom to choose."
Dan also claims that Microsoft will never be able to prevent hackers from obtaining legitimate certificates.
I suspect he's right. But I'm still disappointed in Vista - it seems to have more holes that a piece of Gruyere cheese...