Vinny Guloto, General Manager for the Malware Protection Centre, presented today on the work that the centre is putting into the world of threat research, and both reactive and proactive response.
One of the interesting slides that Vinny used was about the history of development of industry standards in anti-virus development, and how the anti-virus marketplace has grown. It was broken down into:
More than 3,400 new software vulnerabilities were reported in the first 6 months of this year (please note, this isn't 3,400 vulnerabilities in MS software, but across the whole software marketplace that could threaten your PC or data). Seemed like a lot to me, until Vinny explained this is actually a decrease in a six month period for the first time since 2000.
Windows Defender is a piece of free software from MS which looks for things like adware and spyware, rather than specifically "malicious" software - it isn't anti-virus software. Using Windows Defender as an example, he shared some statistics:
After the presentation, it is often the Q&A which contains a startling revelation. And this session was no different. Following a question about how things are changing, he threw in a statistic that was almost a throwaway - that the Malware Protection Centre have found that with Defender, Windows Vista machines have 3 times less "potentially unwanted" software than other Windows machines. Which provides a real life example of the way that the security built into Windows Vista is delivering (silently!) benefits to both the end user and the IT team running their networks.
To read more about the work that Vinny's team do, check out their Microsoft Malware Protection Center Portal