“We evaluated the security features of Windows XP SP2 on a test machine, following a clean install of XP Pro with no configuration changes and no third-party software or drivers installed. We installed XP with the NTFS file system, choosing all of the factory defaults, then patched it with each recommended security update including SP-1 (required), before installing SP2,” Thomas C Greene reports for The Register.
“While we found that there are indeed a few minor improvements worthy of acknowledgment, in particular, some rather low-level improvements that don’t show to the admin or user, overall, SP2 did little to improve our system’s practical security, leaving too many services and networking components enabled, bungling permissions, leaving IE and OE vulnerable to malicious scripts, and installing a packet filter that lacks a capacity for egress filtering,” Greene reports.
“The new Security Center utility with its frequent Security Alert popups will certainly give users the impression that SP2 is a security-oriented package, as Microsoft’s PR boilerplate promises. However, The Security Center does little beyond warning users that the firewall is disabled, that automatic updating is disabled, or that antivirus software has not been installed. It may look impressive, but the SP2 package fails to provide several of the most important, basic modifications required to run Windows safely on an Internet-connected machine,” Greene reports.
“The Security Center is a good idea, but as it’s been implemented, it’s little more than a gimmick that will lead to a false sense of security. Our test system remained vulnerable to a vast host of online threats, especially those involving user interaction… Unfortunately, Windows remains a quite dangerous system to connect to the Internet, and users are still very much on their own in terms of security solutions,” Greene reports.
Full article here.
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