Microsoft Corp. has touted Vista as a more secure version of Windows, but on the day of Vista’s official launch, a security company has identified malware already in circulation that can infect computers running the OS.

Sophos PLC identified three viruses typically spread through e-mail that can infect Vista customers who use a third party Web e-mail client. While Vista’s e-mail client stops Stratio-Zip, Netsky-D and MyDoom-O, the malware slips past Vista’s defenses when users receive infected messages through a Web-based e-mail service, Sophos said.

Stratio-Zip topped Sophos’ list of malware affecting computer users in the month of November, accounting for 33.3 percent of malware in circulation. Combined, the three viruses that can affect Vista users make up 39.7 percent of all malware in circulation during the month, Sophos said.

However, even if the malware Sophos identified slips through in an e-mail, customers won’t necessarily be affected, another researcher said.

Additional Vista security mechanisms should protect users, said Mikko Hypp



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