Windows 8 Malware Threats Arrive

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Malware pushers start to put claims Windows 8 is Microsoft’s most secure OS to the test

Researchers have spotted Windows 8 malware masquerading as anti-virus, raising doubts about Microsoft’s claim that the operating system is irs most secure OS ever.

Security giant Trend Micro discovered fake antivirus aimed at Windows 8 users (image below), just a week after the OS was released to the wider public. It is a standard attack vector, but is the first sign that cyber criminals believe Windows 8 adoption will be big enough to merit attacks on the platform’s users.

Users will encounter ads for the fake AV when they visit malicious sites, Trend warned. “The recent launch of Windows 8 had people talking about this new OS. Naturally, cyber criminals are grabbing this chance to distribute threats leveraging Windows 8 and raise terror among users,” the company said in a blog post.

Windows 8 malware dangers?

The news came as security professionals debate the vulnerability of Windows 8 compared to previous versions of Microsoft’s massively popular OS.

Windows 8 has a number of positive security features, including Secure Boot, which is designed to prevent unauthorised software from loading during the start-up process. It is aimed at stopping rootkits, which have been able to infect the BIOS in the past and are used to hide malware from anti-virus.

Secure Boot works by having the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) – a BIOS replacement – check the boot loader to ensure it is signed by Microsoft before running it.

Windows 8 also features built-in anti-virus, in the form of Microsoft’s own Windows Defender. When a different anti-virus solution is downloaded by the user, Defender will disappear and let the other manage threats – although it should be remembered AV can only block around 30 percent of modern day threats.

Despite these and other notable additions, some have questioned whether the latest version is the most secure Windows ever. Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, said the most secure version of Windows was the one sitting on the Xbox, not any sitting on PCs.

“It was completely clamped down, it only did encrypted IPv6, supported no other protocols, only ran whitelisted applications, you couldn’t run Android apps at all, which makes it very secure,” he told TechWeekEurope.

“I’m guessing it’s still more secure than Windows 8… I find it funny that the most secure version of Windows is inside a games console, which is counter-intuitive. The god-damn gaming device is more secure than your Windows 2008 Server.”

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