Jim Allchin, the outgoing head of Microsoft's Platforms and Services Division, says that he is happy to let his son run Windows Vista and surf the net without anti-virus installed, such is his faith in the security features built-in to Windows Vista.
Speaking on a conference call to talk about the gold release of Vista, Allchin said that the security measures that had been put in place meant that Microsoft was a way ahead of the black hat hackers seeking to exploit vulnerabilities.
One of the features is Parental Controls, which allows high-level users to control the accounts of others - what pages they can go to, set zones of access, limits on download types and the like.
The other is Address Space Layout Randomisation, which fiddles key Windows components just enough to make each Windows Vista install slightly different from any other, meaning that any exploit designed to take advantage of a hole in one particular configuration may not transfer to another machine.
"That's to be proven, so we will see about that. But I need to say the following: Windows Vista is something that will have issues in security, because the bar is being raised over time. But in my opinion, it is the most secure system that's available, and it's certainly the most secure system that we've shipped. So I feel very confident that customers are far better off by using Windows Vista than they are with anything that we've released before."
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