Microsoft sent waves through the security community when it announced that it was going to be offering free antivirus software for Windows Vista and Windows 7 by the end of 2009. Built around Microsoft's Live OneCare's internals, the new antivirus program essentially repackages this previous iteration, while trimming some luxury features like hard drive utilities and major network support.
However, the antivirus makers are not going down without a fight. While it may be hard to beat free, that's exactly what the biggest names in the security software industry hope to do.
Three companies -- Kaspersky Lab, AVG Internet Security, and Symantec -- all have released versions of their upcoming Windows 7 software for public preview, in order to show the progress of their efforts and lure potential customers. Symantec released a 3.0 beta of the upcoming Norton 360, AVG released a full basic version of its AVG Anti-virus built around Microsoft's OS beta, and Kaspersky is offering a technical preview of Kaspersky Anti-Virus for Windows 7.
Windows communications manager Brandon LeBlanc said that Microsoft has a healthy relationship with these firms stating, "Microsoft has been actively working with security partners to help them get their applications ready for Windows 7. Three security developers have taken the build we released to developers in October and have developed solutions available today that work with Windows 7 Beta."
While Microsoft wants to make its own antivirus software the best in the business, it’s also very concerned with supporting third party software makers. For one thing, Microsoft's upcoming free AV suite will be poorly suited for a large scale business environment, necessitating third parties. Secondly, consumers want variety, particularly when many have their own strong opinions about security.
Microsoft wants to reverse what happened with Windows Vista's release. When Vista was released, there was little antivirus software available, and what there was tended to be very poor. This in turn gave the OS perhaps an unduly bad reputation on security, when in reality the base of Vista was much more secure than its predecessor Windows XP. Some major AV companies like Symantec had no Vista product at launch, and Symantec for some time refused to use Vista.
Indeed, Microsoft does seem to be turning the corner on this issue, though, and convincing AV developers that Windows 7 is worthwhile. And Microsoft is definitely in need of it. While its expanded business base of the Xbox 360, internet offerings, Zune, peripherals, and more is relatively strong, its position of its core OS business is the weakest that it’s been in a long time. In November Windows market share, for the first time in years, dipped beneath 90 percent, according to Net Applications. Fortunately for Microsoft, the early buzz around Windows 7 seems enormous.
quote: I must admit, this "I'm too clever to get a virus" boast is a new one to me and I've been a regular reader of DT for well over a year :)
quote: What if someone popped over to your place and just fancied checking their e-mail or something? You would create a new account for them too? That is what I was talking about but perhaps that wasn't 100% clear. Sure, it doesn't happen too often but it would still be an extra and somewhat unnecessary pain.
quote: Just how old is your laptop and what AVs have you tried? I guess that a 5,400rpm drive may suffer a little more than a usual desktop but not that much. The laptops here at my work seems fine. It's not like you buy a laptop for blistering fast performance anyway?!
quote: The rest of your comment is quite amusing. You admit that you do use a virus scanner after all and then you point out how much of a pain it would be to recover from the effects of an infection which you seem to be inviting on yourself in your day to day activities.
quote: The AVs that you have tried must have been pretty rubbish for the time that you waste compensating for not having one.
quote: Just what did you have to "deal with every day" with the AVs that you have tried by the way?
quote: Viruses don't exploit Windows; viruses exploit stupid users.
quote: Viruses just aren't as dangerous as they once were.
quote: Interestingly enough, that was patches quite a while ago
quote: autorun isn't really something MS intends to patch
quote: If it wasn't turned off it certainly is laziness/stupidity
quote: This thread pertained to people who would only be getting it through the Internet
quote: It's so easy to distort things simply by taking it out of context huh?
quote: Yeah, MS is laaazy, sooo lazy. I know :-) They won't plug this stupid hole in Win 7, hopefully they will in 8 or maybe 7.5, if we're lucky.
quote: Don't usurp the thread, it was about the worm in general and it spreads through TWO security holes, one of the is not patched yet. Which was my point.
quote: Yeah, you're trying to shove this autorun hole under the carpet and pretend it does not exist. This is what I call changing context. You know that the worm uses this autorun hole and this hole still DOES exist. No patches from MS. End of story
quote: no MS os before vista had something as comprehensive as UAC.
quote: several worms can infect XP pre-sp2 without the user doing ANYTHING.
quote: What you are talking about here is unpatched software. Why would anyone run unpatched software?
quote: everyone at any given time runs an "unpatched" software. And I'm not being picky here about the term. A patch is released 'after' an exploitation of a vulnerability is found. That means, for a certain amount of time (hours? days? weeks? months?) people run "unpatched" software...
quote: 15 years without a virus, running NT/2000/XP/Vista on a network is very unlikely...even with AV+firewall.
quote: Every so often I'll install Avast and run a scan. It never finds anything.
quote: Unless something changed, MS is not including this with the OS. That really would be an anticompetitive practice.