Security researchers should stick to what they are good at: talk about security. But when it comes to features for upcoming operating systems, they have just proven that they don't know what they are talking about.
F-Secure earlier today posted on its blog that the first 'viruses' for Windows Vista had surfaced. Minor detail: the virus exploits a technology that isn't even part of Vista.
The virus exploits Microsoft Command Shell (MSH) technology, codenamed Monad.
I'll assume that F-Secure is right about the proof of concept viruses. But they mess up when it comes to MSH.
MSH is a scripting technology that is similar to the command shell in Unix-like operating systems. It gives administrators a way to manage a system without using any third party tools. It also allows Microsoft to get rid of the last remnants of the DOS prompt in Windows such as the command.com.
Although MSH was originally scheduled to ship as part Windows Vista, Microsoft has since decided to have its release coincide with the launch of Exchange 12. It won't ship as part of Vista, although both applications have a projected release date in the second half of 2006. And MSH isn't limited to Vista, but supports Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 too.
F-Secure however doesn't know about the release plans for MSH. That's OK for a security company, but the company then shouldn't have said that "rumours" suggest that the application won't ship as part of Vista.
All this is important because now suddenly F-Secure's "Vista" virus is nothing more than a MSH-virus. That doesn’t make for sexy headlines, but it would be factually correct.
And so another myth was born.
UPDATE 8/5/05 9:37 AM:
As expected, the misinformation is spreading. At least Microsoft watch's Mary Jo Foley has it right.
In this case, misinformation is the true virus.
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