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No Vista Viruses For Now

Reports last week that the first Windows Vista viruses had popped up were wrong, a Microsoft executive insists, because the component at risk won't be included with the next-generation operating system when it ships in late 2006.

Reports last week that the first Windows Vista viruses had popped up were wrong, a Microsoft executive insists, because the component at risk won't be included with the next-generation operating system when it ships in late 2006.

Last Thursday, Finnish security firm F-Secure noted that an Austrian malware writer had published several proof-of-concept viruses that targeted Microsoft Command Shell (MSH), which earlier carried the codename "Monad."

MSH is a command-line interface and scripting language, and is meant to replace CMD.exe with a full-function shell similar to Unix's Bash, Microsoft has said. MSH is currently in beta test.

Because the viruses F-Secure touted were targeting MSH, and because there had been rumors that MSH would be included in an upcoming beta, and the final, of Windows Vista (nee Longhorn), the security firm used the headline "First 'Vista Virus' Found."

Microsoft moved to quash talk of Vista viruses on Friday in a blog written by Stephen Toulouse, the program manager of the Microsoft Security Response Center.

"Monad will not be included in the final version of Windows Vista and there is no relation between Monad and Windows Vista Beta 1," Toulouse wrote. "Monad is being considered for the Windows Operating System platform for the next three to five years. So these potential viruses do not affect Windows Vista or any other version of Windows if Monad has not been installed on the system.

"These reports pose no risk for Microsoft customers."

On Saturday, F-Secure backtracked from its earlier notice posted on its virus lab blog. "The viruses will not run in the default Windows Vista. They are not Windows Vista viruses. They are just MSH viruses."

But Toulouse didn't promise that the no-viruses-for-now status of Vista would remain that way forever.

"It’s hard to predict what type of malicious software criminals might develop to attack future versions of operating systems. But rest assured we’re on the case!"

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