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Antivirus app is codenamed Morro and will be free

Microsoft is the largest software company on the planet with applications ranging from office productivity to the operating systems the vast majority of consumer computers run on. Microsoft has also offered protection suits to help keep computers running its software operating efficiently.

Reuters reports that Microsoft is getting ready to unveil a free antivirus service for computers to compete with the many retail antivirus offerings on the market. Microsoft first made plans for its free antivirus offering codenamed "Morro" in November of 2008. At the time, Microsoft said that the service would be launching in the second half of 2009.

The exact launch date of the new free anti-virus service has yet to be announced, but Reuters reports that Microsoft will "soon" make a beta version of the free protection available for users. Investors in security software firms like McAfee and Symantec are worried that a free offering from Microsoft could potentially harm revenue for the companies.

Analyst Daniel Ives said, "It's a long-term competitive threat." However, Ives said that the short-term impact of the free Microsoft offering would be minimal. Not much is known about Morro at this point other than it will offer free basic protection against different virus types and is comparable to low-end software from rival firms selling in the $40 price range.

Morro came out of an unsuccessful offering from Microsoft called Live OneCare that never proved popular among users. Microsoft said in November when it announced the free antivirus offering that Live OneCare would be phased out.

Symantec's Janice Chaffin said, "Microsoft's free product is basically a stripped down version of the OneCare product Microsoft pulled from the shelves. A full internet security suite is what consumers require today to stay fully protected."

A McAfee spokesman said that his company is already working well and competing against free antivirus offerings already on the market.

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The blame game
By Mitch101 on 6/11/2009 11:36:21 AM , Rating: 5
McAfee and Symantec are worried that a free offering from Microsoft could potentially harm revenue for the companies.

Im sure this is already happening because of products like Avast, AVG, AntiVir, and a few others I cant recall But to McCrappy and Symantec a company who's products are getting worse with every release it will be because of Microsoft that they are losing sales.

For the record I used OneCare and while it did some nice things the average user should do it didnt really do well in Virus detection. I now use NOD32. Probably the best online support out there.

RE: The blame game
By arazok on 6/11/2009 12:02:52 PM , Rating: 3
I’ve been using OneCare since release. It sucked hardcore for the 1st year, in the past year they seem to have caught up to the rest of the market.

My personal experience is that my friends running free anti-virus get lots of viruses. I don’t touch them – but I will try Morrow because I think MS has the motivation to deliver a good product, and the deep pockets to burn millions on an unprofitable product.

RE: The blame game
By Helbore on 6/11/2009 12:35:10 PM , Rating: 2
What the hell do your friends do on their computers?

RE: The blame game
By arazok on 6/11/2009 2:09:31 PM , Rating: 5
Dude, it amazes me how non-tech people have this thing for installing smily face emo programs, skins, stupid games, and eCard junk. If it has a flashing banner, they click it. Limewire is the worst – SnoopDog-EveryAlbum-Ever.MP3.exe? Sounds AWSOME!

RE: The blame game
By Pirks on 6/12/09, Rating: -1
RE: The blame game
By PARANOID365 on 6/12/2009 2:02:16 AM , Rating: 3
Your kidding me right; oh wait I forgot were talking about pirksy here.

I can't believe that you actually believe apples small market share was all part of Jobs master plan; WOW !!

Do you really think Stevy Boy likes the fact that apples market share is so small, because I guarantee that Jobs would give his 1st born to switch with Microsoft when it comes to market share.

Unfortunately he can't do a damn thing about it, and that's not from lack of trying because it has taken him over 20 years to amass the tiny market share that apple has now, so Jobs will definitely be dead and gone before apple ever becomes a mass platform.

Also mac enthusiasts better stop blowing their own horn, when it comes to security issues, because it's a really bad idea to keep poking the dog through the fence, with a stick, while you and your mac buddies stand around laughing, (I really hope I don't need to explain the reference).

I guarantee that exactly 1 second after OS X becomes anything other than a small annoyance to Microsoft, it will be instantly flooded with so many security issues that it will be brought to it's bony little knees and instantly crippled, (while 1/2 of the apple big wigs sob uncontrollably, and the other 1/2 start committing mass suicide).

RE: The blame game
By feraltoad on 6/12/2009 2:14:10 AM , Rating: 5
You got a link for that Snoop Dogg stuff?

RE: The blame game
By mattclary on 6/11/2009 2:10:23 PM , Rating: 3
Any machine will get a virus, no matter what software you are running, if you do less than intelligent things on said machine.

I have cleaned viruses off machines running fully updated, complete protection suites from McAfee and Symantec. I run Avast and have never had a virus. (knock on wood)

RE: The blame game
By jonmcc33 on 6/11/2009 2:29:50 PM , Rating: 2
Same here. Running Avast and have never had a problem since I switched to it. Symantec and AVG both failed me.

RE: The blame game
By mindless1 on 6/11/09, Rating: 0
RE: The blame game
By fownde on 6/11/2009 3:26:27 PM , Rating: 2
I mostly agree with mattclary (and a few who posted before him) about it being what you do. I didn't run any antivirus for a long time and never got a virus. Put antivirus on, never got any warnings that something was blocked due to virus so I think it's safe to say I never got a virus there either. Changed out OS and didn't reinstall antivirus and still never picked up a virus. I'm pretty careful about what I open in my email and don't go surfing and installing stupid crap.

I do think a lot of it has to do with people being stupid on the internet. I've talked to people who pay the subscriptions for various antivirus and due to visiting stupid websites or emails opened, they end up with viruses and the antivirus doesn't always catch it (obviously).

RE: The blame game
By mindless1 on 6/12/2009 1:53:47 AM , Rating: 1
... and THAT is the problem.

With a properly designed email or browser, there should never be a situation where no matter what was attached or linked, could ever result in code being ran on the host system.

Even if someone is TRYING to infect themselves, going to the worst websites on earth surfing illegal content, it should never matter what is clicked in the email or browser, nothing clicked should ever infect a system even if it read "do you want to be infected with a virus"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RE: The blame game
By Lerianis on 6/14/2009 10:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
And how is the browser or e-mail application supposed to tell what is a virus and what is legitimate content? Answer: it cannot!

You have to realize that these are DUMB APPLICATIONS! They have no brains to think that "Hey, this .exe is trying to load by itself.... maybe I should blacklist it!"

RE: The blame game
By GodisanAtheist on 6/11/2009 2:29:07 PM , Rating: 4
The problem is pay-for AV programs like Norton eat into computer performance as though they were viruses.

I get people coming to me all the time asking why the hell their computer is running so damn slow. They're running Norton on Vista with a gig of RAM...

RE: The blame game
By jonmcc33 on 6/11/2009 2:31:33 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. My parents have a dual core AMD with 2GB DDR2. Norton was making the computer slower than a snail. Uninstalled Norton and put on Avast, computer is much faster (as it should be).

RE: The blame game
By GTVic on 6/11/2009 7:29:24 PM , Rating: 2
I always use Symantec Corporate . Most corporate users can take a copy home at no charge. My guess is that it is much more streamlined than Norton's retail products which have all those annoying bells and whistles.

The corporate version just sits in the system tray and does the job. However, I have no idea if a product like Avast would be an improvement, haven't tried it.

RE: The blame game
By Lerianis on 6/14/2009 10:24:19 PM , Rating: 2
Bull. I have never had Norton slow down my machine ONE WHIT at all. Neither has any other anti-virus application, unless it was actively running a full system scan.

It's time to stop blaming Norton, get real, and realize that a better explanation is that there is some spyware on the system that Norton missed.

RE: The blame game
By xti on 6/11/2009 12:08:20 PM , Rating: 2
another vote for nod32. it has been on newegg for 10 bucks at least twice in the recent past.

RE: The blame game
By AEvangel on 6/11/2009 12:32:00 PM , Rating: 2
Another vote for Nod32...been using it for years.

RE: The blame game
By TGIM824 on 6/11/2009 1:09:43 PM , Rating: 3
Im sure this is already happening because of products like Avast, AVG, AntiVir, and a few others I cant recall But to McCrappy and Symantec a company who's products are getting worse with every release it will be because of Microsoft that they are losing sales.

Your so 2008 on your NAV bash. NAV 2009 has fixed all the problems with previous. It has a very small electron footprint, scans are quick, and it only cost $20 bucks per copy. Money well spent if you have kids and parents that don't know any better.

RE: The blame game
By Yawgm0th on 6/11/2009 2:48:47 PM , Rating: 2
I'd like to point out that while I'll agree with you wholeheartedly on the consumer side, Symantec has what is almost certainly the best enterprise-grade products out there. Symantec Client Security or Symantec Endpoint Protection with the server-side components make for an excellent system. It is relatively lightweight on the desktop side, highly manageable, and very powerful.

Symantec has never made a good consumer-orientated product that I'm aware of up until this year. McAfee hasn't made any good products at all that I'm aware of.

AVG is still my favorite on the consumer side and Norton still sucks, but don't disregard Symantec as a company for anti-virus solutions. Symantec's products are top-notch in the business world.

RE: The blame game
By Snake357 on 6/11/2009 3:15:45 PM , Rating: 2
My company uses SEP with all the central management components and it SUCKS. Biggest resource hog I've ever seen. Absolute dog of a product.

As employees we get a copy of the full blown consumer version of SEP for free. You couldn't pay me to put a symantec product on my home PC.

RE: The blame game
By Yawgm0th on 6/11/2009 3:33:31 PM , Rating: 2
Do you install all sub-components of SEP? I make a point we with any version to install just the managed AV client. The firewall sucks and everything together can be a major resource hog. But on relatively modern machines it is not a resource hog at all.

I wouldn't install the consumer SEP, either. But if we ever migrate to Vista or 7 en masse I could see a deployment of it. I definitely have no problems thus far with Symantec Antivirus Corp.

Biggest resource hog I've ever seen.
Have you seen Norton Internet Security or McAfee's suite? SEP doesn't compare to them no matter how you configure it.

RE: The blame game
By GTVic on 6/11/2009 7:35:12 PM , Rating: 2
Up above I said that I found Symantec Corporate to be quite good. That is the 10.x version of their corporate AV client.

The SEP is the new version 11 product and comes with a firewall, etc. I have not heard many good things about this version so I would recommend sticking with version 10 or just the AV client as stated by the previous poster.

RE: The blame game
By smegz on 6/12/2009 2:33:11 PM , Rating: 2
If MS follows their normal trends, this will get tightly integrated into Windows and ship with all computers. Then, let the next round of anti-trust trials commence.

By HakonPCA on 6/11/2009 11:51:08 AM , Rating: 2
they'd better think long and hard about how they roll this out, or just not offer it in Europe b/c they clearly haven't figured out how to play in the Europe sandbox with out hundred's of millions of dollars in fines

By Griswold on 6/11/2009 12:14:11 PM , Rating: 2
Smells like a fart. A brain fart.

By aftlizard on 6/11/2009 12:20:33 PM , Rating: 2
I think they could make a real argument about security being an important, if not necessary to a basic OS.

By TomZ on 6/11/2009 12:35:08 PM , Rating: 2
Alternatively, Microsoft can make it a free download - decoupled from the OS and not installed as part of it - and have no worries whatsoever.

By PARANOID365 on 6/11/2009 1:45:31 PM , Rating: 2
Hate Microsoft much ??

By aftlizard on 6/11/2009 2:17:10 PM , Rating: 2
Why ruin a decent reply with obvious dislike, even hate for MS?

By aftlizard on 6/11/2009 2:41:24 PM , Rating: 5
It absolutely did. Why take your opinion serious when it comes to MS at all? If I called Linux, Lisux would you take my opinion on it seriously? Or if you are an Apple fan, I called it Crapple and OSX OSuX. I doubt you would, and in fact would probably become incensed.

By mindless1 on 6/11/2009 2:36:56 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree with the scenario you presented, there is another factor. Most people are not installing OS themselves, they are buying an OEM box where the OEM has favorable terms with Antivirus companies by installing the 3rd party trial version on the OEM PCs.

The shame is it is usually a terribly bloated protection suite that bogs down a system too much instead of a lighter strain on the system, and that when people have brought their box to me infected I see that many have let this trial just run out so the malware definitions are quite old.

By Yawgm0th on 6/11/2009 2:50:56 PM , Rating: 1
I think they could make a real argument about security being an important, if not necessary to a basic OS.
I'd say a web browser and a media player are necessary for a desktop OS. Security software is not. And the difference is there is a serious market for paid security software. Hardly anyone pays for web browsers or media players.

A vote of confidence for AVAST
By jjunos on 6/11/2009 2:41:53 PM , Rating: 3
After using both norton and semantic, I tried both AVG and Avast, and both are good but Avast was able to recover a few friends computers that both norton and semantic failed on.

If you are looking for an free antivirus give Avast a try, it's the best one out there.

Only bad thing is the nuclear siren when it finds something ;)

RE: A vote of confidence for AVAST
By jjunos on 6/11/2009 2:42:52 PM , Rating: 2
and for those to lazy to google, here's the link!

yeah right
By Ammohunt on 6/11/2009 4:31:31 PM , Rating: 3
Symantec's Janice Chaffin said, "Microsoft's free product is basically a stripped down version of the OneCare product Microsoft pulled from the shelves. A full internet security suite is what consumers require today to stay fully protected."

yeah right After uninstalling symantec and replacing it with avast my machines performance trippled. Never again will i spend money on symantec software.

can't happen soon enough
By kattanna on 6/11/2009 11:34:36 AM , Rating: 2
MS should have done this YEARS ago.

Please define short-term
By Morphine06 on 6/11/2009 11:49:11 AM , Rating: 2
Analyst Daniel Ives said, "It's a long-term competitive threat." However, Ives said that the short-term impact of the free Microsoft offering would be minimal.

We aren't going out of business today, but I might take next week off to look for a job.

Microsoft anti-virus?
By matt0401 on 6/11/2009 2:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't that an oxymoron?

Oh boy
By dondino on 6/11/2009 4:36:34 PM , Rating: 2
"In related news, industry experts project a 99% reduction in available anti-virus suites by the end of FY2010" ...

OneCare is/was junk...
By Screwballl on 6/11/2009 7:25:15 PM , Rating: 2 what makes this one any better?

Take a look at and see that OneCare is almost consistently rated one of the worst mainstream anti-virus programs out there, although they have gotten better in the past year (they used to never break 75%). The best is Avira which I have used for years before I ever found this site/group.

Proactive/Retrospective tests (May 09):
Avira 69%
OneCare 60%
AVG 45%
Mcafee 25%
Norton 35%

Comparative On demand/real time scanning (Feb 09):
Avira 99.7%
OneCare 97.1%
AVG 93%
Mcafee 99.1%
Norton 98.7%

This is also why I have stopped suggesting AVG to many of my customers/family.

I plan to use it
By just4U on 6/11/2009 7:25:52 PM , Rating: 2
I purchased Live Onecare for quite a few computers. It was easy for people to use and didn't take up alot of resources. I've had calls asking why they can't renew and most were really pleased to hear it was because MS was moving to a free version.

I don't think other companies have to much to worry about right now. Perhaps later on some might be in trouble but alot of the Antivirus suites are fairly cheap these days so it should go ok.

By Belard on 6/11/2009 9:23:49 PM , Rating: 2
With Microsoft making software in almost every area, what maybe left to compete with Microsoft? When MS takes over a market, companies go out of business.

The only big companies lift are Intuit, 3D/CAD programs and Adobe.

These companies want to grow market share, they need to support Linux.

MS Money competes against Quickbooks
MS has Publisher, Office, games and they may still own a professional 3D software package (if I remember right) and of course the browser.

The only MS software I own: WindowsXP, Office2000 (good enough - only use W/E/P) and Gears of War. No MS media player or browser.

If Linux had more software from Adobe, AutoCAD, Intuit - it would reduce MS power on the Computer market.

The more the better
By NA1NSXR on 6/12/2009 12:17:14 AM , Rating: 2
This is good. I think MS should include programs of last resort which should definately include anti-virus in this day and age. As long as I have the choice of leaving it out of my install and processes completely I don't consider it bloat.

By tfk11 on 6/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: Funny...
By Helbore on 6/11/2009 12:34:08 PM , Rating: 3
I tend to find any user who can't competently use a computer a virus.

RE: Funny...
By MouseBTFH on 6/11/2009 1:27:09 PM , Rating: 1
I tend to believe that any user who doesn't read AnandTech is a virus... ;-)

RE: Funny...
By PARANOID365 on 6/11/2009 2:01:05 PM , Rating: 1
I tend to consider anything you have to say on this topic a total waste of time and space, (now I want the 2 seconds of my life you wasted back.....come on pay up!!)

okay then...
By drewsup on 6/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: okay then...
By PARANOID365 on 6/11/2009 1:52:08 PM , Rating: 2
Oh and let me guess, Microsoft is also responsible for global warming and for your glaring lack of any computer software knowledge!! Wow I don't know how they sleep at night!!

RE: okay then...
By mindless1 on 6/11/2009 2:39:41 PM , Rating: 2
Responsible no, but it would be hard to not accept that so many people using PCs use more power, except if it is a modern high efficiency PC versus some old large CRT TV they watched instead.

I doubt this scenario though, someone buying modern consumer electronic devices like a PC would buy a modern TV with HD offerings and digital OTA transmission right around the corner.

RE: okay then...
By drewsup on 6/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: okay then...
By artemicion on 6/11/2009 5:20:24 PM , Rating: 3
Haha, sooo dense.

So your logic is:
Microsoft made windows --> Windows has security defects --> Microsoft is incapable of writing secure software --> Don't trust Microsoft software

By that logic, I suggest that you turn off automatic updates on Windows. If you don't have any confidence that Microsoft's anti-virus software will be effective against security holes, then certainly you shouldn't have confidence that Microsoft's security updates wil be effective against security holes.

Orrrrr, alternatively, maybe your logic is flawed, and that writing a secure OS and writing an effective anti-virus program are two completely different beasts. And also maybe you've never written a piece of software in your entire life because you think that it's actually possible to develop an operating system as complex as Windows that is 100% free of security-holes.

RE: okay then...
By drewsup on 6/12/2009 12:39:24 PM , Rating: 1
I'm a bit less "dense" that either of you. My logic is simply that there are companies out there DEDICATED to making anti-virus apps for Windows. MS can patch all they want, but being the predominant OS in the market is a huge flag waved at hackers saying "LOOK AT ME". If my fucking logic is sooooo flawed, answer me this.. when an exploit becomes known in the wild, who is faster at responding to it, MS or ANY of the big AV companies? Whats that... though so!

RE: okay then...
By PARANOID365 on 6/12/2009 2:13:40 AM , Rating: 2
Do you really think that having a hissy fit changes the fact that your logic is obviously flawed; I think not !!

@ artemicion,

You nailed it perfectly; kudos !!

RE: okay then...
By drewsup on 6/12/2009 1:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
What bothers you more Paranoid, the fact that I'm correct in my opinion that dedicated AV companies are quicker to respond to threats in the wild vs. a huge mega company with umpty million departments where the OS and OS defense are only two assets of their business model, or the fact that every time you look in a mirror, you see the complete and utter loser that are? No, I am not a programmer, I don't have to be, I hire them when I need them, but for the most part, when I find i do an get arrogant prick like you, i don't.

RE: okay then...
By PARANOID365 on 6/14/2009 8:26:03 PM , Rating: 2
Wow I see you have extended your vocabulary, good for you !!

1st of all why do you keep changing your point ??

Your original comment was a strict attack on Microsoft, and you know it, (and that's what I originally commented to), so stop trying to pretend that all of a sudden your comment was not the rantings of a moron, and that my comment was not valid.

Also why not stick with your original moronic comment instead of changing it up so that you no longer come across as a douche bag.

No matter how you want to try and twist your hatred towards Microsoft it's clear that you have the mantality of a 5 year old, so just embrace who you are and stop with the childish personal attacks.

Oh and by the way I can almost guarantee that you would have no shot at being a programmer anyway because not only do you have very limited knowledge on the subject, but last time I checked, "huge douche bag", is not a desirable trait by anyone.

RE: okay then...
By drewsup on 6/15/2009 9:48:29 AM , Rating: 1
Can you even fucking read, or didn't they teach you that in whatever half-assed school you supposedly attended? If you read my original post, I already said I use MS products 80% of the day, and for the most part they do what I need. However, you are still missing the main point, MS has screwed up EVERY AV they came out with. Giant was a pretty good product, until MS bought it out, and then re-released it as Defender. Windows One Care, again was a disappointment, so again how do I make this ANY fucking clearer so an imbecile of your intelligence can understand it. MS makes an OK operating system, but with shitty security, Avira, Avast, Nod32, Etc.. make REALLY good products that protect MS products in the wild. I go by previous track records of companies, and MS has a poor one with regard to AV products. So why don't you stop being a MS shill, go back to writing your fucking code. P.S. not everyone wants to be or needs to be a programmer, there are LOTS of other jobs that in the tech sector, you should probably look past that terminal on your desk every once and while and see the big world out there for yourself.

Windows Defender
By GaryJohnson on 6/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: Windows Defender
By Totally on 6/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: Windows Defender
By arazok on 6/11/2009 11:50:59 AM , Rating: 5
Defender != Firewall

Defender = Anti-Spyware

Morrow = Anti-Virus

RE: Windows Defender
By mechBgon on 6/11/2009 11:52:34 AM , Rating: 3
Firewall != Antivirus

Windows Defender is not a firewall, if that's what you were attempting to imply. Windows Defender is also not an antivirus/antimalware program, it's primarily just antispyware, so people will want an antivirus program as well.

However, I strongly suggest people secure their Windows systems with a proper defense-in-depth approach, not just security software; it's not so difficult with Vista or 7, which make using low-rights user accounts something anyone can do:

RE: Windows Defender
By The0ne on 6/11/2009 11:58:36 AM , Rating: 2
Ya, that's what he's saying :D


RE: Windows Defender
By TomZ on 6/11/2009 12:32:47 PM , Rating: 4
However, I strongly suggest people secure their Windows systems with a proper defense-in-depth approach, not just security software
The need for security software is largely a function of the user. I'm an expert user, and I've never ran any security software apart from what exists within Windows XP/Vista/7, and I've run Windows since 3.1 and never had an issue, ever. I suspect the same is true of many readers of this site.

On the other hand, put the computer in the hands of someone who runs older unpatched software, browses Russian porn sites, downloads and runs EXEs willy-nilly, and activates executable e-mail attachments...then you've got something to worry about.

RE: Windows Defender
By TGIM824 on 6/11/2009 1:00:11 PM , Rating: 2
That would work in a perfect world free of teenage kids always fooled into seeing some famous person doing something they should not, and always caught on camera doing it, or trying to find the next napster that offers unlimited free music.
I always love getting on the kid's computer to find some NAV9 warning dragged down below the taskbar telling them the file they just had to launch was a virus.
Or launching a web browser to find 8 tool bars loaded.

RE: Windows Defender
By GaryJohnson on 6/11/2009 4:12:06 PM , Rating: 2
Not a perfect world but a perfect computing environment. 1 user per PC where that 1 user is competent enough to keep his PC secure without the nannying of a resource hogging 3rd party security suite.

If you've got a PC that's your administrating for a teenage kid or anybody else that's not competent enough to keep the PC secure then at that point, yes, you do use every means at your disposal to secure it. Limited accounts, admin passwords, security software. Whatever works so you don't have to go in and do a re-image every 30 days.

RE: Windows Defender
By omnicronx on 6/11/2009 5:30:48 PM , Rating: 2
The only Virus/Malware that I have had in the last 15 years was Blaster. And that was not accessed on my PC directly but someone using their infected computer on my wireless network as it had the ability to infect network shares.

I keep Windows Defender up to date, and do periodic AVG scans (or whatever free scan is availalbe) once every 6 months. Never once have I had a problem.

I 100% agree with what you are saying here.

RE: Windows Defender
By Spivonious on 6/11/2009 11:52:05 AM , Rating: 2
Defender is just anti-spyware.

This new product will be replacing Windows Live OneCare but unlike OneCare, will be free instead of subscription-based.

RE: Windows Defender
By GaryJohnson on 6/11/2009 12:22:58 PM , Rating: 2
That makes since if we're buying into spyware and viruses are different things that we need different protection systems for. But they're not, they're both malware, and the same anti-one should be anti-the-other-one.

Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By Chudilo on 6/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By Motoman on 6/11/2009 11:56:58 AM , Rating: 5
Sounds like you have it figured out. Please enlighten us on how to write an application/OS with billions of lines of source code and comprehensively guarantee that there are no vulnerabilities at all.

RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By amanojaku on 6/11/2009 12:22:19 PM , Rating: 1
Easy! Apple figured it out! You just - Oh wait... Never mind.

RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By AEvangel on 6/11/2009 12:30:36 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah they also figured out how to maintain a a marketshare that makes them a pointless little fashion statement of a computer company.

By PARANOID365 on 6/11/2009 1:42:58 PM , Rating: 2
@ AEvangel,

I believe amanojaku was using a great technique we like to call, "sarcasism".

By mindless1 on 6/11/2009 2:44:48 PM , Rating: 2
One line at a time. The fundamental problem is not bugs in the code, it is making things possible at the first layer of the user interface that shouldn't be.

Primary points of infection are typically email client, browser, and sometimes autoplay on removable drives/media. Email client should not be capable of directly launching/running with a click or two, only saving files to a secure folder. Browser should not be able to install during normal websurfing. Autoplay should be disabled by default and at the most capable of starting multimedia content or viewing pictures, not launching anything the entire OS is capable of.

As for comprehensive guarantees, that's being silly. Many things in life are built safe enough that nobody ever has a problem but there is still not grand concept of "comprehensive guarantee". For example, how many people do you hear about being electrocuted while using their VCR? Yet, it's possible, just designed well enough that it's not very likely through normal use. Clicking a button in windows is a normal use.

RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By mechBgon on 6/11/2009 12:06:12 PM , Rating: 3
If they knew how to clean the viruses they wouldn't need a scanning program.

How about making an operating system that would actually be less susceptible to infections. I could see if this program tried searching for vulnerabilities by scanning for infections in real world and reporting the statistics back to Microsoft, so that they could address the vulnerabilities with updates. But then again we all know how long that takes them.

If this is a demonstration of how well you understand computer security, then don't quit the day job. ;) You might want to read the Security Intelligence Report for some real insights:

As for the operating system you're proposing that they make, they're working on it. It'll be called Windows Vista and I heard it'll be coming out real soon now.

RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By Chudilo on 6/11/09, Rating: -1
RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By TGIM824 on 6/11/2009 1:04:50 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, well I had a hard enough time getting my parents and mother-in-law to understand XP. So the solution to no viruses is to teach them file permissions in UNIX?

By omnicronx on 6/11/2009 1:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
So the solution to no viruses is to teach them file permissions in UNIX?
Or perhaps have a system which warns users when they try to do something that requires admin rights.. Oh wait, they tried that and it was one of the main reasons that everyone 'hated' Vista. This is exactly what desktop variants of nix such as ubuntu does, it will warn and ask for a password every time. (in fact almost all desktop variants of nix does this). If you think people were annoyed by having to click yes a few times, just think how things would have gone had they been required to enter a password.

RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By mindless1 on 6/11/2009 4:05:08 PM , Rating: 2
What you have linked does not support your arguments. For example Win2k substantially lower in infection % than XP SP2 or SP3.

What the stats show is what we already knew, the longer an OS system has been installed and used, the more likely it's picked up malware along the way.

Often when someone brings me a system to be disinfected, it was not recently infected as shown by file creation dates. They kept using the system in an infected state until they amassed more and more infections to the point where they couldn't get to their homepage anymore, account settings had been disabled by the malware, windows wouldn't even finish loading the user profile or a similar show-stopping problem.

Vista is not necessarily a reasonable attempt at a solution because they have yet again added more unnecessary functionality for applications to do things the user didn't expressly instigate, as if then annoying with a popup box to ask is acceptable.

Would it be acceptable if someone walked up to your car and said "mind if I key your car", several times every day after day? You can say no instead of yes of course, but what if they wait until you are doing something else, wait till they anticipate you saying yes to something else and ask at the same time, and take your "yes" as yes to them?

That, plus a little social engineering is what happens with people visiting dubious websites where the 'site claims they need a codec to play the video. Problem is, this can be a legit message as MS built in the functionality to do it, and do it with Windows Media Player. The secondary problem is MS conditioned people to just click ok to get rid of annoying messages constantly even before Vista but now even moreso.

The fundamental problem has gotten worse, not better. User should never get a prompt or opportunity to install the malware at all unless they do one thing, use a traditional file download method to save a file (like warez) to a folder, then cease activity in the browser to go to where the file was saved then choose to run it.

I can't blame MS when someone does this specific thing, but at the same time there should be a kill-process control where the user can select files and have the OS disallow any related processes that are tracked as linked, effectively preventing any malware from running at boot-time.

It should be that instead of the cat-and-mouse game where one thread protects the other malware thread so even if an anti-virus program deletes something, if it didn't catch 100% of the protection threads and files the malware won't just reproduce the files and settings the moment after the AV tries to heal the system.

The problem is the MS philosophy about security, tacking on even more junk for the user to deal with is opposite the best solution. Security is not a lot of features, it is looking at where the hole was and removing the hole, not building a buffer behind a hole left open. To some extent we see this mirrored in the low infection percentages for Win2k even though it's still windows!

However, the linked findings are bound to be incorrect on several levels, it wouldn't be realistic to think their tracking of "unique vulnerability disclosures" to THEM means much. Did you report to them the last systems you came upon that were infected? I didn't, nor have I ever met anyone who did.

By mechBgon on 6/11/2009 8:10:53 PM , Rating: 2
mindless1 , the stats you're seeing in the SIR's graph there are only the MSRT-specific statistics, not a full cross-section of all the Windows malware and exploits in existence. Given a default installation of Win2000 Pro SP4, WinXP SP3, and any version of Vista, it's a hands-down win for Vista in terms of its defenses and mitigations. For example, you'll never get ASLR on any version of WinXP or Win2000. Nor will you have Protected Mode, Windows Integrity Control, IE-specific Data Execution Prevention options, or the anti-rootkit capabilities specific to 64-bit Vista. As a case in point, the most recent security update for Internet Explorer 8 is rated Critical on WinXP, but only Moderate on Vista and Win7, thanks to the DEP+ASLR mitigations.

Symantec did an interesting test with about 2000 malware samples that work on WinXP. They found that over 90% of them were thwarted by Vista's default out-of-the-box setup. You can read their findings here:

I can't blame MS when someone does this specific thing, but at the same time there should be a kill-process control where the user can select files and have the OS disallow any related processes that are tracked as linked, effectively preventing any malware from running at boot-time.

I think what you've described already exists in the form of Windows Integrity Control, starting with Windows Vista. Here's a good two-page article on WIC, if you're interested:

As for the social-engineering problem, it certainly is a huge problem. It's nearly impossible to protect a computer from its own administrator, and the average homeowner knows too little, or just enough to be dangerous (point in case, the innumerable rogue "security" software scams intended to play on peoples' fears of teh eebil spyware). Obviously Microsoft's current solution (SmartScreen on IE8, free antispyware and antivirus programs, plus Protected Mode and WIC on Vista/7) is not perfect, but I think it's more effective than yours would be (modifying the steps required to download and run Trojans, which really solves nothing).

My own preferred solution is to yank Admin rights from people who cannot be educated to recognize danger, and make it completely impossible for them (or an exploit posing as them) to execute any file not put on the computer by the Admin. This is done with a low-rights user account and Software Restriction Policy, but unfortunately cannot be done on all versions of Windows XP or Windows Vista. I use this setup for my own systems, and they've survived many crazy malware-hunting missions in the course of my SiteAdvisor work.

RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By bhieb on 6/11/2009 1:26:12 PM , Rating: 2
Wow get a clue. There is no solution to a computer admin (aka my mother) launching an executable that she got in some email. Sure you can tell her 5 times with different pop ups and warnings, but then she just clicks ok no matter what.

Tell me almighty one how do you prevent that. You cannot limit file access as she OWNS that damn thing and is the admin. I'm sure you could limit her ability to open files, but then she does not really own the PC does she. Go ahead and just give me your cell and I'll have her call if she needs to install something on the computer she owns.

You can't fix stupid - Ron White

By PARANOID365 on 6/11/2009 2:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
You sir are definitely onto something here, (thanks for the 1st great laugh of the day :o)

RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By mindless1 on 6/11/2009 2:24:00 PM , Rating: 2
Yes there IS a solution, there is no need to have an email client capable of launching an executable!!

Anyone that needs an EXE sent through email should be capable of saving it to their hard drive in a quarantined area where they have to specifically go there to run it instead of just clicking picture.jpg.exe in their email client.

It's not about limiting file access, it's about limited undesirable features while retaining access. Same thing with browser popups for free "codec" download, etc. Browser should not be capable of installing anything on the go, it should be a manual process through a control panel or menu, not started by simply clicking on a browser window.

Why is that so important? Because critical choices that can be avoided should be for average users, things should default to safety then leave settings for those who know what they're doing.

Historically, and even moreso with UAC, MS has made people constantly click on messages just to get rid of them. It is insane really, that it requires more clicking to change monitor resolution or mouse speed than to launch malware while surfing or reading an email. Windows is fundamentally flawed in this respect, it should never be that easy to modify system settings and install something even "if" a user or admin clicks a single button on the same dialog box they had to click a dozen times already.

RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By Chudilo on 6/11/2009 3:52:33 PM , Rating: 2
That is exactly it.
It's not because the user clicked on the wrong thing.
They shouldn't have the ability to do it, if it makes no sense.

There was an F16 issue at one point, where rockets would be aimed by half pressing the trigger but cannons would fire in the same situation. The pilot had to make sure that he was in rocket mode before half pressing the trigger. While it sounds alright from a developer prospective. In real life it resulted in many incidents including some school in New Jersey being shot at with large caliber rounds.

This situation in similar in many respects. There is no reason for an executable file to be in an email. It should not be allowed.Additionally , if the email was sent from a domain other then the what it claims to be from in the header, it should not be allowed to go where it's going. A
Many issues could be solved before ever starting , if smart people gave it some thought.

By bhieb on 6/11/2009 4:13:01 PM , Rating: 2
How can you allow them to install the flash player executable from a website, but not the virus on a link someone duped them into.

Say you find some elaborate "are you sure" or manual method to install one web program. What makes you think the next time dear old mom gets a link to that million dollar wire transfer in her name, she won't just follow the same procedure she did to get flash running?

The vast majority of "viruses" now are not something that just pops on your computer because of a bad OS design. The end user DID something. The warnings, and safeguards exists NOW they are just ignored. Short of taking all active content off the net, YOU CANNOT FIX THAT stupidity no matter how you try. Even if you did take the active content away, we would be back to passing software around on floppies/flash drives (and that is how early viruses spread).

RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By bhieb on 6/11/2009 4:03:50 PM , Rating: 2
Why is that so important? Because critical choices that can be avoided should be for average users, things should default to safety then leave settings for those who know what they're doing.

Thanks for completely missing the point. The point is you could put up a million "Are you sure" boxes, it won't stop the average grandman from just hitting OK. Because on the 10 other legit sites hitting OK enough made it work, so why not on this one.

If someone sends here a joke with a link to an executable? Some legit web sites need to install stuff, flash, java, ... so you cannot just block that. You can add roadblocks, but again you cannot fix a stupid person that just clicks through.

You can argue it any way you'd like. But if the owner needs ANY ability to launch executable there is no way to keep that functionality and stop viruses. The only remotely possible way might be to have a list of approved executables to check against, but then you'd need to find some way to validate the millions if not billions of 3rd party apps.

By artemicion on 6/11/2009 7:26:07 PM , Rating: 2
Although you're right and that a million "are you sure?" warnings won't stop the most stubborn and ignorant computer users from getting infected, it is still effective to some degree.

It's like maybe X% of computer users are smart enough to avoid shady exe's altogether. Y% will be deterred if they are given a warning. 100 - X - Y% will get infected regardless.

Just because 100 - X - Y != 0 doesn't mean we shouldn't come up with creative and effective warnings to increase the Y percentage of people who are deterred by some warning.

I think part of the problem is that the Microsoft needs to somehow do a better job of eliminating situations where websites need to install stuff, like flash, java, adobe reader, etc. It is because installing addons like the above has become commonplace that people mindlessly click through the warnings and get infected. Running new exe's on a computer should be such a rare occurrence that when it happens an idiot user should stop and say to him/herself "I've never seen this before, what's going on?" (Though admittedly, if Microsoft pre-packaged Windows with flash, java, adobe reader, etc. they'd probably get sued in the EU . . .)

Yes, it will never be 100% effective, but just because it won't be 100% doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for something close.

As a related aside, I think one of the biggest issues with programmers is the inability to put themselves in the shoes of the "least intelligent user". For example, when I was studying comp sci in the early 2000s, classes and research on UI's were JUST beginning to be offered. Mostly because programmers generally concentrate on form over function: we learn about making it work, and then concentrate on making it work faster. Nobody ever taught us about making it work intuitively.

I think that attitude still permeates throughout the software industry. Nobody really cares about the Least Intelligent User because we shrug our shoulders, say "it works for me", then dismiss them as ignorant.

And (consciously walking into hate missles here) I commend Apple on being one of the few tech companies that puts proper focus on developing intuitive UIs. You have to market a product that dumb-a$$es can use if you want to sell. (Though I would still fault their marketing for pissing off the tech demographic.)

By mindless1 on 6/12/2009 1:50:31 AM , Rating: 2
Damn you're dumb.

The whole point is to never have even one "are you sure" box.

The whole point is to never have a box that says "ok run that virus".

That should not be an option to the user, PERIOD.

By omnicronx on 6/11/2009 5:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
Still does not seem to stop anyone. MS has already patched almost all outlook versions and won't let you save or open an exe attachment without the use of addons. I don't think many people even know that you can get updates for office.
(they actually have different levels of security depending on the filetype, some won't open/save some will warn you etc..)

As for the browser, I do not agree, do you know how many people don't even know how to find the files they just saved? Furthermore for those that actually know what they are doing, it is a pain in the *** to have to browse to the location after downloading. MS can't limit what people can and cannot open from a browser without it turning into the next Apple commercial. Furthermore if someone is going to open an infected EXE, it does not matter if you have to open it manually or if it can be done through the browser. Either way they will be infected.
It is insane really, that it requires more clicking to change monitor resolution or mouse speed than to launch malware while surfing or reading an email.
I don't think you realize the problem here. People will click regardless. If blanking the screen and setting the focus to the warning message does not stop people, nothing will. I also don't understand how you think that it is a plausible idea to not give the user the ability to install a program which edits system settings with one click. What do you expect here? For users to go through multiple steps just to install something that requires admin rights? I think you are forgetting that most people have absolutely no idea what they are doing and will get frustrated and guess who they will take it out on? MS...

You could go the nix route of asking for a password, but I don't see how that will help. It all goes back to the previous comment, if someone wants to open something, nothing is going to stop them. No popup, no security, no limitation of admin rights.(in a non domain situation of course). In a non domain environment there has to be way for the user to have full access period in one way or another! There is no way around this.

RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By croc on 6/11/2009 8:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
Please explain in more detail how I can quarantine a portion of my drive such that an .exe file will not have access to my system RAM?

By mindless1 on 6/12/2009 1:48:19 AM , Rating: 2
Real freakin' simple, the quarantine is that the email client every launches anything, the attachment or link can only be saved to some folder.

Hint - saving a virus to a folder does not cause it to run or infect the system! Only FURTHER action would cause that.

RE: Ahahahah this is the dumbest thing Ever.
By Chudilo on 6/11/2009 3:00:30 PM , Rating: 2
Apple did it, they fixed stupid! They don't allow you to do stupid things. Now I'd say that it is not appropriate for PCs but perhaps there should a be a Stupid mode for Windows.
Let the user (or the person going through the first time setup) choose how comfortable they are with the platform. You know how when you get a new PC you get to choose your timezone and stuff, make an extra screen there to select what level of expertise you are.
If you need a person to help you setup the PC, they'll choose beginner for you.
If you know what you're doing you'll choose expert on your own PC or something in between.
This setting will determine what sort of things you will get prompted for.
If you chose beginner. Give the user a big STOP sign saying you are doing something stupid (not necessarily in those exact words) every time they start doing something wrong.
Or if it's an advanced user, don't annoy them with prompts too much, if they want to get prompted for certain things they should have a place to enable prompts for some special things, like driver changes changes or what not.
Also force all programs that modify system settings be signed and certified by an independent party, to avoid antitrust issues. the agency will be sponsored by the programs and MS but not owned by either.
You get the idea. I'm sure there is a lot I have missed here , but I only gave this a few minutes of thought. I'm sure a corporations with a multi-billion dollar budget could have given this some thought rather then taking shortcuts every which way they can think of.
They make enough money off their OS to spend some serious money on research that will make their OS conceptually better not just a one marketing schema at a time

By Lerianis on 6/14/2009 10:28:18 PM , Rating: 2
You CANNOT DO that thing about all programs that modify system settings being signed and certified.

The simple truth is that there are too many people out there making too many applications that need to access system settings to do that.

And really, Windows 7 and Vista already tell you when you are running a program that needs to access system settings (unless it is a KNOWN part of the OS in Windows 7 and even if it is in Windows Vista) to enable 'administrator mode' for it or ask your permission to run it first.
Same thing when you are installing an application.

So Windows Vista and 7 already 'fixed stupid' as well.

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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