Coffeehouse Thread

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Microsoft antivirus

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  • User profile image
    lars

    Mike Nash, chief of Microsoft's security business unit, told reporters that Microsoft is developing software to protect personal computers running Windows against malicious software, the worms and viruses that have plagued users with data loss, shutdowns and disruptions in Web traffic in recent years.

    "We're still planning to offer our own AV (anti-virus) product," Nash said

    Reuters: Microsoft on Track to Offer Anti-Virus Software

    This is going to be interesting. If Microsoft starts selling an anti-virus solution, they are in a sense charging for their own faults. No security holes - no anti-virus program needed. So in order för the Anti-virus division to show a profit, windows needs more security problems.

    If Microsoft integrates it into the OS, or gives the product away for free - we're right back the situation where MSIE was offered free and Netscape cost money. Lawsuits, Lawsuits, Lawsuits.

    The only way to win is to make it so GOOD that it puts an end to the whole virus plague. That is one challenging task.

    /Lars.

  • User profile image
    sbc

    I wonder how McAfee, Symantec, Trend would retaliate?

  • User profile image
    ZippyV

    lars wrote:
    This is going to be interesting. If Microsoft starts selling an anti-virus solution, they are in a sense charging for their own faults. No security holes - no anti-virus program needed. So in order för the Anti-virus division to show a profit, windows needs more security problems.


    If Windows would be so restrictive we wouldn't even be able to install a normal application.

  • User profile image
    DanTheMan

    Even if MS starts selling their own AV product, they'd probably still get more financial benefit from a stable, exploit-free OS.

    The same cannot be said of independant AV vendors. This is why I think OS vendors should offer their own AV protection (bundled, ideally). For AV vendors the incentive to create exploits is high and the chance that their doing so would ever be discovered is low.

    I also think that this is a realization on MS's part that only playing defense is no longer good enough.

    Regards,
    Daniel

  • User profile image
    AT

    ;o) In case if Microsoft will create Virus-Free OS then other AV companies and Virus-writers will sue.


    If I was virus writer and feeding my family from money I earn from sending spam messages - then I will sue Microsoft becouse they do not allow to support my family.  ;o)

  • User profile image
    tbeckner

    lars wrote:

    If Microsoft integrates it into the OS, or gives the product away for free - we're right back the situation where MSIE was offered free and Netscape cost money. Lawsuits, Lawsuits, Lawsuits.

    /Lars.



    I have an idea that might make everyone happy. Microsoft embeds a Free Standard AV in the OS, but does not write the AV definitions/signatures, but allows Trend Micro, Symantec, McAfee, and others to offer a subscription service for the AV definitions/signatures, which allows the performance of timely and identifiable capability to be winner.
     

    The OS users are happy, that they don’t have to pay for the AV software and updates, and the AV definition/signature writers get paid for the subscriptions.

     

    Competition is in the form of the best AV definitions/signatures delivery.

    Additionally, the AV definition/signature company be allowed to help with AV product in form of improvements.

    By the way, it would be a CRIME against the purchasers/users of Windows to make the AV product a purchase product on top of the OS.

  • User profile image
    eagle

    There is no such thing as “anti-virus”, we must always be vigilant.    

    ...and back-up our files!

  • User profile image
    ghos

    I think there is a lot of sense in what is suggested by tbeckner.  However I still doubt the AV companies would roll over and simply do definitions. 
    Who is to say the built in AV would be the best anyway?  Sure MS should be able to make it fool-proof but that doesn't mean it will be.
    But beside that I feel these would really step over the bounds of monopolization.  Its supposed to be an operating system, not a complete software package.
    I wish MS would concentrate on making the core OS outstanding and let outside vendors produce outstanding niche software.  MS should be required to only provide basic functionality in the OS and then if MS wants to provide a better product, it should be available just like the competition, for a price separately.  It certainly would give a better indiction of whether people really want the software with more features that MS is shoving down our throats by adding to the OS.

    I know its convenient to have all these things bundled together, especially for those who don't know any better.  However, I like having choice and MS is not giving us that choice.  Slowly but surely choice is being squeezed out.  Better choices won't survive pack-ins, even if they are an improvement.  Many people don't explore beyond a "safe" zone when it comes to PC's. 

    Bottom line is, MS AV is bad for the OS, bad for consumers I think.

  • User profile image
    lars

    On the upside a standard AV-feature would make it easier to support. On the downside it means that virus makers have a single product to defeat.

    I think the fact that there are different vendors that compete is a good thing for the collective security. It keeps them on their toes and makes them work really hard to be first in supplying a solution to their customers. A recent example is the security hole in MSIE that allows the remote execution of arbitrary code on the victim machine. Symantec updated Norton Antivirus to detect and prevent scripts from taking advantage of this. So far I've not seen any response at all from Microsoft regarding this issue.

    Competition works.

    /Lars.

  • User profile image
    Shining Arcanine

    Lars, they aren't charging for their own faults as many viruses come in via attachments that users execute themselves.

    Anyway, on the bright side more people should buy Antivirus software because Microsoft has Antivirus software and Microsoft won't be sued. On the other side, less people will have antivirus protection than they would if Microsoft just intergraded it. ^_^;;

  • User profile image
    Knute

    Personally I think MS should stay out of the AV market and focus on creating SW. There will always be bugs and holes and it's great that there are companies out there that help fix these.

    And to those who think that MS should create bug free/hole free software, give me a million breaks when you have projects that are monolithic it's very had to control every single detail. I get sick of people saying that MS should just put out bug free software, what about all the other bloody companies who continue to churn out bug riddled software???

    ~ Knute

  • User profile image
    Shining Arcanine

    Knute wrote:
    Personally I think MS should stay out of the AV market and focus on creating SW. There will always be bugs and holes and it's great that there are companies out there that help fix these.


    The AV market is software...

  • User profile image
    lars

    Knute wrote:

    I get sick of people saying that MS should just put out bug free software, what about all the other bloody companies who continue to churn out bug riddled software???


    True. There is no such thing. I also get sick of people defending Microsoft and putting all the blaim on the user. Normal people have "lives" and may not use their computer every day. And when they go online the first thing on top of the agenda isn't Windows update. Just accept it. People have better things to do than to babysit Windows.

    I'm equally sick of people telling me how great Linux is and how it's so secure. They should get on BugTraq and watch just how much of that traffic is about software they use. The only reason there are almost no incidents is that people do not care about hitting 5% of the connected users when they can hit the other 95%.

    /Lars.

  • User profile image
    lars

    Shining Arcanine wrote:
    Lars, they aren't charging for their own faults as many viruses come in via attachments that users execute themselves.


    Like Sasser? Or Blaster? Do your homework.

    /Lars.

  • User profile image
    Shining Arcanine

    lars wrote:
    Shining Arcanine wrote: Lars, they aren't charging for their own faults as many viruses come in via attachments that users execute themselves.


    Like Sasser? Or Blaster? Do your homework.

    /Lars.


    No, like Netsky and Beagle.

  • User profile image
    GooberDLX

    Aside from the articles posted here (in which I didnt read)... I thought MS was taking a position along side of current AV software companies to ensure that the core OS and API have greater connectivity with the functionality of AV software (aka, making it stronger and easier to write AV software)


    I dont think they will make AV software..
    Jake

  • User profile image
    Shining Arcanine

    GooberDLX wrote:
    Aside from the articles posted here (in which I didnt read)... I thought MS was taking a position along side of current AV software companies to ensure that the core OS and API have greater connectivity with the functionality of AV software (aka, making it stronger and easier to write AV software)


    I dont think they will make AV software..
    Jake


    They're doing both.

  • User profile image
    lars

    GooberDLX wrote:
    I thought MS was taking a position along side of current AV software companies to ensure that the core OS and API have greater connectivity with the functionality of AV software


    They have a close cooperation with the AV-vendors. But partnerships have never stopped Microsoft from going in and taking over a market. They want it - they take it.

    The article on /. has an interesting question:

    "If they can't seem to patch their OS fast enough, what makes them think they can keep their AV software up to date?""

    Indeed.

    /Lars.

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