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June 1, 2010

Windows and Security: Setting the Record Straight

There’s been some coverage overnight about the security of Windows and whether or not one particular company is reducing its use of Windows. We thought this was a good opportunity to set the record straight.

There is some irony here that is hard to overlook. For starters, check out this story from Mashable a few months ago where it was reported that Yale University had halted their move to Gmail (and their move to Google’s Google Apps for Education package) citing both security and privacy concerns.

The Financial Times article states that:

Windows is known for being more vulnerable to attacks by hackers and more susceptible to computer viruses than other operating systems.

The facts don’t support the assertion.

When it comes to security, even hackers admit we’re doing a better job making our products more secure than anyone else. And it’s not just the hackers; third party influentials and industry leaders like Cisco tell us regularly that our focus and investment continues to surpass others.

An article today by InfoWorld discusses how Macs are under attack by high-risk malware – the article goes on to ask if this is a future sign of things to come for Apple and security. Microsoft makes the security of our customers a huge priority. Here are some examples of the things we are focused on to help make our customers more secure:

  • We ship software and security updates to our customers as soon as possible through Windows Update and Microsoft Update to keep our customers safe.
  • We highly recommend our customers enable Automatic Update to ensure they are protected from attacks.
  • With Windows 7, we added improvements to BitLocker for disc encryption (we also introduced BitLocker-to-Go for external USB devices), and added enhancements to the built in Windows Firewall for better protection.
  • Windows 7 has Parental Controls built in that can be combined with Windows Live Family Safety to create a safer experience on the PC for children.
  • Windows 7 comes with Internet Explorer 8 which includes SmartScreen Filter which has proven its success time and time again.
  • And Windows 7 also uses Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) as well by randomizing data in memory.

For more on Microsoft and our investment in security, I suggest reading the Microsoft Security Development Lifecycle Blog.