Software maker Kaspersky Lab has released its initial anti-virus products that support Microsofts new Vista operating system.
Shipped on Dec. 28, the software is a beta version of a maintenance update for Kasperskys Anti-Virus 6.0 and Internet Security products that includes the new support for Vista, which was introduced by Microsoft in mid-November 2006.
While the first Vista-oriented products built by Kaspersky, which has its headquarters in Moscow, Russia, cover the companys consumer-oriented technologies, the firm is in the process of creating versions of its enterprise security applications that will be tailored to work with the Microsoft OS. Kaspersky has yet to disclose publicly an official date when those products will arrive.
Built with a number of security tools onboard, including anti-virus capabilities, some industry watchers have predicted that the arrival of Vista will make it harder for mid-tier software makers such as Kaspersky to compete, as Microsofts entry to the market will also push industry leaders Symantec and McAfee to cut pricing for their own applications.
Company executives said that despite those perceptions, it is still vitally important for Kaspersky to offer alternatives for customers who want to adopt the Vista OS.
"Many of our users have expressed interest in Vista, and we are providing a clear path for them to do so securely with Kaspersky," said Steve Orenberg, president of Kaspersky, in a statement. "Customers can confidently continue to enjoy the response time and protection from Kaspersky regardless of which operating system they choose."
The companys Anti-Virus 6.0 release offers protection against a wide range of malware attacks, while the Internet Security package features additional defense against adware, spam and hacker intrusions.
Thus far Vista has been unable to avoid some of the same types of security issues as its predecessor, Windows XP, despite significant efforts on the part of Microsoft to ship the OS with fewer code vulnerabilities than its previous products.
In mid-December, members of a Russian hacker forum issued proof-of-concept exploit code for a privilege escalation vulnerability affecting all versions of Windows—including Vista, forcing Microsoft to activate its emergency response process.
Officials with Microsofts Security Response Center confirmed that the company is "closely monitoring" the public posting, which first appeared on Dec. 15. It affects "csrss.exe," which is the main executable for the Microsoft Client/Server Runtime Server.
According to subsequent posts on several security mailing lists, the vulnerability is caused by a memory corruption when certain strings are sent through the Microsoft products MessageBox API.
Kaspersky has a long history of helping to root out Windows attacks emerging from its Russian homeland. Back in December 2005, researchers at the companys Moscow labs were also the first to find evidence that the exploit code used in the WMF (Windows Metafile) attack was being peddled by Russian hacker groups for $4,000.