back to article MS hits back in Security Essentials row

Microsoft has said its rivals and the media have misunderstood its plans to offer its freebie anti-virus scanner to Windows users without security protection via its Microsoft Update service. Earlier this week we reported how Panda Security and Trend Micro both viewed the offer of Security Essentials via "automatic downloads" …

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Anonymous Coward

AVG

I used to use the free version of AVG right from the first time it became available, at that time and for a while afterward it was a reasonably good product. Then a couple of years ago it turned into a piece of bloated crap that hogged system resorces and nagged incessantly.

So I tried Security Essentials and have been pleased with the result, never any problems on any of the Win 7 family, although Win XP didn't like it much. It just sits in the background and does its thing and requires virtually no user interaction.

If you have a user or system without AV protection its a good choice (IMO).

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JDX
Gold badge
Grenade

To be honest...

... the anti-monopoloy stuff is all well and good, but preventing MS providing a free virus-scanner seems silly. I get a new PC, I have to go online and download a virus-checker during which time I'm unprotected.

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Silver badge
Joke

Ha

>Typically the likes of AVG, when pressed, point out that they have more experience than Microsoft in developing security scanners

Ah but Microsoft has more experience in writing insecure software. That must count for something :)

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Gates Halo

The threat to the world from legions of unprotected PCs

Is worse than the threat to the world from purported anticompetitive practices, IMO.

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Linux

RE: The threat to the world from legions of unprotected PCs

"Is worse than the threat to the world from purported anticompetitive practices, IMO."

Wouldn't it be better to have protected machines *and* do without the anti-competitive practices?

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lol

Let me guess, those that are complaining really just want to cut their advertising and marketing bills.

Its not like anyone ever mentions Panda or Trend when looking for anti-virus any more.

Theyre the Operas of the AV world it seems.

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Oooh...

Lightweight, fast and reliable - thanks for the heads up, I'll have to give one or the other a go...

... or is that not what you meant?

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no..

i meant "loud and vocal when it comes to generating free publicity, but otherwise practically unheard of".

tbh, Ive used Opera for years, but the latest version has so many more problems working with some sites than in the past.

Guess its the price you pay for sticking to standards, when no one else does.

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Someone tell...

... Panda Security and Trend Micro that some PC manufacturers bundle "antivirus" software with the computer. Let's see what they think of /that/.

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Silver badge

You can...

...buy a different brand of PC, the OEM is not a monopoly, but they are invariably infected with Windows.

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Oh, really?

"Microsoft is always looking for the most effective and efficient ways to ensure our customers are protected against viruses, spyware and other malicious threats."

...so presumably they are steering their customers to Linux or MacOS then?

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Anonymous Coward

It's not great

The problem with MS Security Essentials is that it didn't detect or prevent the Think Point malware (probably delivered by an out of date Java or an up to date Flash, I guess the former) on my sister's PC after I uninstalled Grisoft AVG (because it was slowing it down too much). I've now put Avast on for her which did pick up the problem.

I've had a problem on my own machine with BitDefender (shipped with an Acronis True Image package) claiming everything was a virus (though I spotted what was going on before any serious problem).

From what I've read (mainly on www.av-comparatives.org which claims to be independent), Avast and Avira seem the best options at the moment. I wish one of those companies would come up with a 3 PC virus protection deal where you can use it on a computer used for commercial use for around £20 for two years. That's about the right price point for me...

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Coat

Windows 8 Boot Screen

Just as the flying Windows logo floats across the screen, a choice message appears:

Thank you for choosing Microsoft Windows. You now need to choose which Operating System you are going to use.

Recursive!

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in a nutshell

it's an optional update you have to manually add to the list of apps to install, and you only see THAT if you have optionally elected to use the Microsoft Update replacement to Windows Update, and still only if MS Action Center notes you have no AV product installed.

If you knew enough to enable auto update, and knew to look in the optional updates area, and chose to install this one, ya think you might know at this point what AV "is" and know there were alternatives... I think this is pretty fair.

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Paris Hilton

No Problem

Can't see the problem myself. I use Microsoft Security Essentials and it appears to do the biz. Maybe not as flashy as some other competitors but why should I care?

I've chosen Paris because I figured that I might need a virus scanner if I tried to carry out my natural instinct on her.

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Anonymous Coward

MSE good

This has been my experience with MSE too. A refreshing change from the loud and confusing norm of security packages, it is quiet, efficient and simple to understand and use.

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WTF?

Equal opps for all!

I bought a new PC recently which came with Trend AV preinstalled on a free 30 day trial.

Strange thing is, when the trial was coming to an end I got frequent reminders that I needed to upgrade to a proper licence, but not once did the reminders give me an option to choose which AV product I wanted from a list of several. Explain to me why this is OK but why MS providing an opt-in service isn't?

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Anonymous Coward

End of the gravy train

Companies such as Sophos et al rely on insecure MS products for their very survival. They can hardly complain when MS makes its product more secure by default, surely they must have seen the day coming eventually.

It's been a good ride fellas, time to find a new business model.

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Gates Horns

RE: End of the gravy train

"Companies such as Sophos et al. rely on insecure MS products for their very survival. They can hardly complain when MS makes its product more secure by default, surely they must have seen the day coming eventually.

It's been a good ride fellas, time to find a new business model."

I hadn't looked at it that way, but you are correct, at least about the reaction of the competition. As for MS making anything secure, well, I doubt they have anything to worry about...

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Thumb Up

Pay for Protection

It's a racket. Always has been, just ask the Mafia.

I'd rather have every PC without antivirus installed get SE pushed onto it. If the other companies products are so awesome and great the user would have already installed it. If they don't know how, or that they need one, then one needs to be PUT on there for them.

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FAIL

Agreed

A firewall has now long-since been a de-facto standard include for OSes (yes, XP SP2 was a "long" time ago in computing time). Anti-virus/malware software should have long since became the same.

Yes, all you Windows bashers of "they should just make it more secure" doesn't help stop user stupidity. When you install Acrobat and it stuffs a "quicklaunch" app in your HKLM/.../run, it is behaving almost exactly like any malware that ends up on computers nowadays (think Antivirus 2009). Granted, "quicklaunch" doesn't open sockets, nor actively use 'net traffic (well, unless you don't count auto-update), but regardless, gone are the days when viruses were intelligently written using hacks and exploits when a majority of users can be fooled to simply run the program and be dense enough to follow the resulting tide of popups.

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Silver badge
Alert

I don't trust MS, or anybody, who wants to scan my system

We never run any scanners at my company when they are on-line as you never know what they are doing or what data they are exporting.

AVG and Spybot are run daily after InterNet service has been disabled to each particular computer being scanned.

Google desktop indexing is another no-no.

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Anonymous Coward

How do you know

... they are not storing data to send at a later time when a connection is available?

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Anonymous Coward

Vista

When Vista was created it MS locked the kernel down so only they could write to it . This would of stopped some virus. AV companies cried that this would break their software . MS back down (I presume to stop anti trust actions) . So the AV companies do want an insecure OS for the masses . Other wise they would die off.

I might be wrong but I feel that if MS rewrote windows and made rock hard against attacks, AV companies would sue .

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Flame

Gimme a break!!!!!!!

"Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs, said its objection that Redmond was pushing Security Essentials without giving users an informed choice remains."

Since when is it that Microsoft's job. As a user if I wish to make an informed choice about which motherboard I should buy, I do the research and find out whats available, which suits my purpose and which is within my budget. I don't go to Asus and demand they tell me all about MSI, Gigabyte or Asrock motherboards.

If people need an AV then it's up to THEM to do the leg work and make the informed decision, not Microsoft. It's time these companies gave it a rest and got on with looking after their own businesses (or whats left of it anyway).

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Linux

RE: Vista

"I might be wrong but I feel that if MS rewrote windows and made rock hard against attacks, AV companies would sue ."

I don't think you are wrong. However, I suspect that in order to be truly secure, it would cease to "be Windows" to an extent that anyone with a brain would be freed to consider the competition; those without a brain might just be pushed out of business while trying to adapt to the changes.

Worry not, I don't think MS has it in them - the secure part. They clearly are interested in forcing everyone into managed code and breaking backward compatibility, but as I have long said, when they break all of my code, I might as well rewrite it elsewhere.

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Flame

Competition? We can't have any of that!

"When Vista was created it MS locked the kernel down so only they could write to it . "

Killing competition very nicely: Same idea than having one API to everything for yourself and win32-API for competitors. Very limited, riddled with bugs and intentional delays, sometimes 1000-fold.

This double-API method continues all the time and you know what?

Most viruses uses native APIs, just like MS does. "Only MS can write it" means in practise "only MS-API can write it" and that means that only competitors and other honest software makers are left out: Every virus maker has access if MS has.

"This would of stopped some virus."

No it wouldn't. If MS can write there, so can viruses.

Also irrelevant, that wasn't the purpose of that move.

" AV companies cried that this would break their software ."

MS designed it so that that would happen: Deliberately breaking competitors products to maintain monopoly. MS has done that many times before (and got caught, too, remember DR-DOS?) and that's the _corporate policy_. Has been since early 80s. How often that changes, tell me? 0 times, so far. It's the cornerstone of their survival.

So monopoly uses monopoly power to kill competitors and you see it as good thing? You are an enemy of capitalism or what?

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Silver badge

Imagine the ballot screen

1. Norton. Expensive

2. McAfee. Expensive

3. Trend. Expensive.

4. Microsoft. Free.

Yes, I can see that working well for the A/V vendors.

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Linux

RE: Imagine the ballot screen

"Yes, I can see that working well for the A/V vendors."

Point taken, but people pay for Windows itself when there are (damn good) free alternatives. There's a licensee born every minute.

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IT Angle

You have to make a choice

Search google with the following words: windows 7 free antivirus microsoft.com

The first hit is "http://www.microsoft.com/windows/antivirus-partners/windows-7.aspx"

At the top of the page it says "We recommend that you install security software to help protect your computer from viruses and other security threats, and that you keep your security software up to date." There are more than two dozen suggestions of software vendors.

I had to choose what program was installed, it was not automatically rolled out through the windows update service.

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Boffin

Hmmmm....

Why does the idea of a MickySoft antivirus not make me feel my PC is secure.... Possibly the same way the MickeySoft firewall does not block unauthorized communication with redmond and its minions.

My experience of MickeySoft is such that they are the last people I would go to to get anti-virus software. It would be a bit like going to PC world to get a PC

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Grenade

This is getting stupid- this time I am backing Microsoft

Why not offer a free virus software or auto updates I think it is a brilliant idea to be honest !

You can only get Security Essentials if you have a legal licence Microsoft Operating System so what is the big deal.

I run it it is better then AVG runs very smoothly on my Vista and Windows 7 and XP systems , it has prevent some nasty virus. The rest are either bloated slow your system down or cost a fortune !

So why does these sore losers want to do next scream and whine that Microsoft is not playing fair- well they are !

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Flame

Patches to everyone.

"You can only get Security Essentials if you have a legal licence Microsoft Operating System so what is the big deal."

This actually is the problem: Those about whining about millions of unprotected Windows-machines don't realize that the real problem are uncountable numbers of Windows-machines that _don't_ have licence: Those won't get _any_ updates nor protection. Thus churning billions of spam in botnets. Not obviously MS problem because no-one have had guts to put monopoly responsible of being monopoly.

It may be ok for MS but it's definitely _not ok_ for the rest of the internet users, so limiting this to valid license owners is the last thing MS should be allowed to do: It's either _all_ or no-one.

Same should apply to security patches: No licence checking allowed: If you want to be a monopoly, you pay it by offering patches to everyone, no questions asked, no IP registration done.

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Badgers

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

In providing their own antivirus offering, MS are really caught in a no-win situation, at the risk of stating the obvious.

Offer one, and they are anti-competitive / killing the income of the AV companies. Don't offer one, and expose the world to virus-laden PCs. They must have been wrestling with the politics of this for a long time prior to putting out MSE.

Now as for their insecure code:-

- their code is apparently primitive and they lack decent coding standards, I saw a buggy method which was new code in the networking area published on the web a little while back, and they were still writing new code with "goto" statements. epic fail.

- Apple code has more vulnerabilities unpatched for longer than MS, so Apple is certainly no better.

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Flame

OS distribution in botnets, anyone?

"- Apple code has more vulnerabilities unpatched for longer than MS, so Apple is certainly no better."

Except rooting Apple machines has been quite tedious task, you don't see them in botnets, do you?

"Offer one, and they are anti-competitive / killing the income of the AV companies. Don't offer one, and expose the world to virus-laden PCs"

It doesn't matter if MS offers one or not: It's offered only to those who have valid license and there are tens of millions of machines which don't have valid license in internet.

All of those are running totally unpached MS code, why isn't MS resposible for those? It's their code, powering 99% of spambots and DDOSses everywhere.

Offering patches and tools isn't costing anything for MS, it's just a power game and internet users are paying the price for that. Why?

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Unhappy

Too Many Dumb PC Users!!

I keep running into PC users who dont understand what AV updates (definitions) mean. They thought that all they have to do is just plop in the installation CD and it is done. They also dont understand that they have to pay to the AV piper every year to keep current. What it shows is that the competent AV purveyors are not doing a good job of explaining to the many dumb PC users that they need to download new definitions on a regular basis and to pay annual subscriptoins. I met so many of them at Facebook!!!! They are so dumb! !

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JDX
Gold badge

stuff

Firstly, Windows is way more secure than it used to be. I ran an unprotected W7 system for a few months and it was scanned clean, compared with ME which was riddled before it even finished installing the broadband setup software!

I don't think you can have a totally secure system which lets users do what they want... Mac and Linux people, you can't know if your systems are more secure (maybe they are) but they're damn sure not impregnable if virus writers targeted them and it would be idiotic to think they were.

Out of interest, how come MS is allowed to supply a software firewall when other companies sell alternatives? This is even on by default IIRC, and I'd VERY glad of that fact.

I bet Google's pad won't give you a choice of browsers... or search engines...?

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Flame

"more secure" doesn't mean anything when the level of security is zero.

"I don't think you can have a totally secure system which lets users do what they want."

You don't let _users_ do whatever they want. Admins are for that.

In any W7-system admins sit in Redmont, except for viruses, of course. W7 is very much like toy OS, even the "admin" can't uninstall unused windows components, all of them sit on the hard drive, forever. No wonder it takes more than 50 gigs from hard drive and there's nothing you can do about it.

Nor no reinstall disks for you: If hard drive blows, go and buy new retail version, no OEMs for you.

".. Mac and Linux people, you can't know "

Linux users can. Read the source code and look: _It's all there_. It's as simple as that.

Which part of "open source" you don't get? It looks that even the concept of an OS that you or your friends can check all the way to single lines of code and _all the code_, is so alien to you that you can't understand it at all.

You _can_ know: By checking it yourself. Or your team.

"if your systems are more secure (maybe they are) but they're damn sure not impregnable if virus writers targeted them and it would be idiotic to think they were."

No system is impregnable, but some systems are much harder to break into than others and denying that is plain stupidity. MS is one of those built on "security by not telling anyone". That's very lousy security nowadays.

MS as a company also have this constant "Nono, we don't have any bugs and if we have, they are not serious and we won't patch them as it costs money" - attitude, even today.

"There is no money in bugfixes" like Bill himself said. That's one of his most honest statements since 1980s. Maybe only one, who knows.

"... if virus writers targeted them... "

Essentially bullshit. >90% of worlds webservers are running Apache (more often than not on Linux): You really think that these are _not_ targeted, every day? On what grounds?

Even apache-modules running top of a Apache are attacked every day (mostly various php-applications like phpBB).

What would be better platform for spreading malware than a webserver? Much, much better than any Windows PC.

Even SSH is targeted all the time, why an earth someone can even imagine that most common http-server isn't, is beyond my imagination.

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FAIL

Comparing apples to screwdrivers.

"Firstly, Windows is way more secure than it used to be. I ran an unprotected W7 system for a few months and it was scanned clean, compared with ME which was riddled before it even finished installing the broadband setup software!"

ME didn't have a firewall, W7 has. Any questions?

ME behind firewall is as reliable as you browser.

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Jobs Horns

Misunderstood, eh?

"Microsoft has said its rivals and the media have misunderstood its plans..."

Why MS is _always_ misunderstood in media and by their rivals? Unless more or less paid advertisements of MS, of course.

They won't admit that they are monopolistic pigs they really are?

Who is the one having constant reality distortion field on here?

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