On the MSNBC RedTape site there’s an article, 12 Things Computer Should Fear in 2010 and coming in at number 10 is Windows 7 (not sure if the list is on order). One of the comments is that because Microsoft has worked so hard on compatibility then 8 of 10 windows viruses will still work. I doubt this is a comparison of XP to Windows 7.
So here’s some healthy Christmas cheer to counter the gloom:
1. If there threats out there for windows 7 out there now, then Bob would be writing about them , and the story would be all over the Register, Slashdot FARK etc..
2. Microsoft Security Intelligence Report. This graph shows infection rates reported to Microsoft across the various version of Windows to June 2009..
which is why Windows 7 and Vista sp2 aren’t listed. However my point is that any version of Vista is under half the rate of any version of XP. I should mention that this graph is also independent of the relative numbers of each version out there i.e. the ubiquity of XP is not a factor in its higher incident rate.
3. Keep up to date. This might be patches to the OS, anti virus signature updates, and regularly backups, and don’t get me started on all the people out there still running IE6!
4. I try and avoid being beaten up by not hanging round dark alleys in big cities, and I am very careful about who I let into my home. I do the same stuff when I’m online, and I think my fellow surfers are also more ‘webwise’ and sites like Microsoft, the Beeb, Trend are generally good at getting the word out early if there is a real threat.
5. Use the cloud to backup critical data, e.g. SkyDrive, Flickr and the other digital vaults is a way of protecting your data and getting it back after a disaster befalls a machine.
6.Try 64 bit Windows 7, which can be a pain occasionally (usually getting the right drivers for legacy stuff), but has even less reported threats than it’s 32 bit client cousins, possibly because it’s rarity, and because some 32 bit threats won’t work
So I am not saying don’t be cautious, but I am saying there’s no need to panic if you are getting a shiny new windows 7 machine for Christmas.