In positioning itself to provide aftermarket applications for Microsoft's Vista operating system, anti-virus market leader Symantec is highlighting some shortcomings it believes to exist in the new platform's own security tools.
Among the conclusions of a presentation delivered to the media during the week of Jan. 8 by Symantec Vice President of Engineering Rowan Trollope is the software maker's finding that the UAC (User Account Control) feature of Vista, a security innovation highly touted by Microsoft, remains unwieldy and confusing to users.
UAC is designed to help Vista limit malware's ability to escalate an individual PC's user privileges, a common technique used by code writers to spread their viruses from one machine to another.
Integrated with Vista's other onboard security technologies, the system is set to prompt users whenever a program attempts to change its status on their machines, thereby lowering the chances of hidden threats to operate on PCs running the OS.
Symantec, based in Cupertino, Calif., contends that UAC is too disruptive and hard for common users to understand, as well as a potential new headache for corporate IT administrators. This echoes criticism leveled at the feature when Vista was still in the beta development phase during early 2006.
Trollope said that the problems that remain with UAC—namely that it produces too many pop-up security warnings that use overly complex technical language—will give Symantec an opportunity to build products that help manage the system for Vista users.