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Windows 7 Under Attack

Already? It's been not quite a month since Microsoft finally let Windows 7 into the wild, and wouldn't you know that hunters are already taking shots at it.

Or, at least, they can see the targets on its back. This week, Microsoft offered advice on how to deal with a zero-day vulnerability that appears to be the new operating system's first post-release flaw.

The problem, as you surely know by now, is with the SMB networking protocol in Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft says that anybody who knows how to put up a decent firewall shouldn't feel the effects of the flaw, which could include denial-of-service attacks. (Hey, where were those denial-of-service attacks on Vista when we needed them? Heh heh. OK, that's the last one. We promise. Probably.)

Perhaps more worrying, though, is the potential for Trojan attacks to follow a Windows 7 activation hack that somebody came up with last week. The idea is -- as it usually is with a Trojan attack -- that Trojans could disguise themselves as Windows 7 activation hacks and fool users. However, Microsoft has said that if the Windows 7 activation Trojans are as harmless as the current USC Trojans, users should have no reason to worry. (OK, Microsoft didn't really say that. But it's kind of true.)

All of this is, of course, pretty much par for the course when it comes to Windows, and nothing here seems serious enough to warrant panic. But these stories are just an example of how complex an OS really is and how quickly and easily ne'er-do-wells can find a way to ruin it.

And they do makes us wonder whether the risks of cloud computing -- so well-documented here and elsewhere over the last couple of years -- are really that big of a deal after all. And it makes us wonder how much longer the huge, complex OS as a concept has to live...but that's another entry for another time.

What's your take on Windows 7 security? Have you had any serious problems with it yet? Send your stories to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on November 18, 2009 at 11:55 AM


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