Windows 7: Unimproved Security

Windows 7 is much better than Vista, but when it comes to security, it's just more of the same old, same old as the first security patches make their appearance.

I can give you lots of reasons to switch to Windows 7 from Vista. It's much faster, more stable, and it's a much smoother ride. That said, I can't give you any real reasons to switch from XP to 7, but I can safely assure XP users that come the day you buy a new PC you won't regret it the way so many people who 'upgraded' to Vista did. But, improving security isn't a reason to move to Windows 7. When it comes to security and Windows 7, it's just more of the same old, same old.

This point really came home to me when I was looking over all the patches that Microsoft will delivering tomorrow in what may be the largest Patch Tuesday ever. Microsoft "will ship a total of 13 updates next week, eight of them pegged "critical," the highest threat ranking in its four-step scoring system, beating the previous record of 12 updates shipped in February 2007 and again in October 2008."Of these 13, five are for Windows 7.

Pretty impressive don't you think for an operating system that's not even officially released yet?

At this point, we don't have all the details on what's being fixed and what isn't We do know, however, that the SMB2 file and print protocol problem is scheduled to be fixed.

In total, Microsoft will be releasing five patches for Windows 7. Only one of them is rated with Microsoft's most dangerous security rating of Critical. Microsoft's rates the other four Windows 7 security bulletins as "Important."

The Critical problem is actually with Internet Explorer 8. Anyone running IE 8 on any version of Windows will need to apply this patch.

We don't know what the other problems are for now, except that all four of them exist in both the 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows 7.

Windows 7 isn't getting as many fixes as Vista, 8 in total with 4 marked as critical, but then Windows 7 isn't even shipping yet. The hackers and crackers haven't even really started yet to break Windows 7 down. They will.

Microsoft isn't making the over-sized security claims for Windows 7 that it did for Vista. Still, I have friends who tell me that they expect Windows 7 to be safer than earlier Windows operating systems.

I wish. No, Windows 7 is still Windows, and that means it's built on an inherently unsafe foundation of a single user, non-networked system in a world where every computer is potentially connected to all other computers.

If you really want a PC where you don't have to constantly worry about security, you need to switch to desktop Linux or a Mac. It's not that they're perfectly safe either, they're not. It's just that they're safer than the Windows alternative, and that includes Windows 7.

This isn't just my two cents. I'm told by friends at security companies and Microsoft that the problems that will be patched this time around in Windows 7 are the exact same kind of problems that Windows has always had. When it comes to Windows, it really is a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same.

ITWorld DealPost: The best in tech deals and discounts.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon