Windows 7's malware infection rate climbs, XP's falls

Microsoft released data today showcasing that Windows 7's malware infection rate has climbed by more than 30% during the second half of 2010, while the infection rate for Windows XP has dropped by more than 20%.

As ComputerWorld reports, during the second half of 2010, the data shows that 32bit Windows 7 computers were infected at an average rate of 4 PCs per 1,000, compared to 3 PCs per 1,000 that took place during the first half of 2010. This is a 33% increase in the infection rate. Those running Windows 7 64bit had better chances of avoiding problems with an infection rate of 2.5 PCs per 1,000.

Windows Vista SP2 attained an infection rate of 8 PCs per 1,000 in the third quarter of 2010. Windows XP, on the other hand, attained a 22% drop when the infection rate went from 18 PCs per 1,000 to 14 PCs per 1,000 in the fourth quarter of 2010. Windows XP was the only operating system to see a drop in its infection rate last year.

Microsoft calculated the infection rates using its Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) by detecting and deleting selected malware such as fake antivirus programs, worms, viruses, and trojans.

Microsoft also claims that Windows 7 and Windows Vista are still much less likely to be compromised by malware than Windows XP. "We're still seeing a decrease [in infection rates] for the newer operating systems. And with the broader adoption of Windows 7, more customers are protected."

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