Windows Vista security flaw uncovered

Redmond (WA) - Even though it has not yet been released to consumers, a security flaw has been spotted in the Windows Vista operating system, which the Associated Press is calling the first one to plague Microsoft's next-generation platform.

However, many security analysts say the possible threat from the glitch is low, as it would require a hacker to have physically had access to a system before he could exploit the security hole. In other words, a widespread remote attack would be very unlikely, according to the results of an investigation from Microsoft.

The flaw would normally not even be newsworthy, but has significance becuse "it's the first reported vulnerability that also affects Vista," said Mikko Kypponen, chief research officer for security firm F-Secure. The glitch could also potentially affect older Windows operating systems, and is the kind of thing that is fixed with Microsoft's monthly security updates. No legitimite attacks have yet been reported as a result of the new flaw.

Windows Vista, which Microsoft touts as the most secure operating system it has ever released, was released to business consumers on November 30. It had originally planned to be available for everyone for the holiday shopping season, but internal problems caused the consumer release to be pushed back to 2007. Many consumers who purchased a Windows PC in the last two months of 2006 are eligible for a free upgrade to Vista.

The mass market release of the software is currently scheduled for January 30, 2007, with various versions ranging in price from $200 to $400, or $100 to $260 for upgrading customers.

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