Microsoft is taking unnecessary security risks with its upcoming Vista operating system, says software company McAfee.
The security software firm placed a full page advert in yesterdays Financial Times to warn readers about its concerns.
It believes the software giant is putting computer users at risk by blocking third-party security vendors', such as McAfee, Symantec and Arbor Networks, access to the kernel of the operating system and embedding its own security centre in Vista.
"With its upcoming Vista operating system, Microsoft is embracing the flawed logic that computers will be more secure if it stops cooperating with the independent security firms," wrote George Samenuk, Chairman and CEO of McAfee in the advert.
He added: "Microsoft seems to envision a world in which one giant company not only controls the systems that drive most computers but also the security that protects those computers from online threats".
Sunil James, manager of the security engineering and response team at Arbor Networks, believes while Microsoft has made strides to make the operating system more secure, there will always be a need for third-party security companies to protect end users against viruses and hackers.
"Microsoft isn't a security company, it's important but it's not its primary concern. Companies like McAfee spend huge amounts of time focusing purely on security and have built up years of experience and expertise to help protect customers against threats. Microsoft just doesn't have that level of expertise," he said.
The McAfee advert also stressed that hackers have already found ways to disable and work around the PatchGuard functionality in Vista's kernel. The Symantec security weblog echoes this view.
"Microsoft's unwillingness to make compromises has serious implications for the security industry as a whole. If security vendors don't have access to the platform kernel, it cuts down their ability to innovate and create compatible solutions. In the end, a less secure Internet will result and both consumers and enterprises will find themselves more vulnerable to cyber attack," it said.