A new report from Microsoft shows that Windows Vista provides better security tan Windows XP.

The Latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report (SIR) states that malicious software infection rates differ significantly for different versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system. Windows Vista was less infected at any service pack level than Windows XP.

The report shows that the infection rate of Windows Vista SP1 is 60.6 percent less than that of Windows XP SP3.

Additionally, the SIR report pointed to the spread of rogue anti-virus programs as a significant threat.

The company also outlined the data breach threat posed by insiders, as well as an increase in the number of Microsoft vulnerabilities it was forced to patch.

We continue to see an increase in the number of threats and complexity of those threats designed to implement crime at a variety of levels online, said Vinny Gullotto, general manager of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center.

The report highlighted a pair of rogue families, the Win32/FakeXPA and Win32/FakeSecSen, which Microsoft has detected on more than 1.5 million computers. Their discovery was significant enough to put them into the top 10 threats in the second half of the last year.

Another virus, Win32/Renos, delivered rogue security software. It was detected on 4.4 million unique computers, an increase of 66.6 percent over the first half of 2008.

As Microsoft and the industry continue to improve the security of our products and people become more concerned about their online safety and privacy, we see cybercriminals increasingly going after vulnerabilities in human nature rather than software, Gullotto added.