Monday, October 02, 2006

Fwd: InfoWorld: Should Microsoft be in the anti-malware business?

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Security Adviser < >
Subject: InfoWorld: Should Microsoft be in the anti-malware business?

Monday, October 2, 2006


By Roger A. Grimes

Posted September 29, 3:00 a.m. Pacific Time

Microsoft has a cadre of anti-malware tools. Most are free, but some
current and forthcoming options are commercial. Any marketplace entry by
the Redmond-based company becomes an immediate formidable foe lessening
competitor profits.

Many analysts are asking if Microsoft, which could be blamed for creating
the very insecurities that Windows malware is exploiting, should be able
to reap additional profit from closing those same holes? The company's
worst critics are worried that key vulnerabilities could be left in
Windows longer to benefit additional Microsoft revenue streams.

[Talkback: Is Microsoft's anti-malware business a conflict of interest?]

I think it is a fair question, and I encourage the discussion and debate.
I admit to having mixed emotions, but I ultimately support Microsoft's
objectives as long as they compete in the anti-malware marketplace
fairly. Here's why.

First, it might be helpful to review Microsoft's newest anti-malware
tools. They are the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT), Windows
Defender, Live OneCare, and Microsoft Forefront Client Security.

MSRT is automatically downloaded and run every month when the normal
Patch Tuesday patches are installed. MSRT looks for and removes the most
popular critical malware threats; the current version looks for 75
different malware families. It can be downloaded and run on demand by
connecting to this site.

Windows Defender is Microsoft's beta anti-spyware tool, which the company
picked up during the Giant Software Company acquisition. It looks for
and removes spyware, adware, and other potentially malicious programs
and hacking tools. It provides real-time protection, blocking the
installation of monitored items into more than 100 different Windows
locations. It scans all downloads arriving via Internet Explorer and
Outlook, and is able to perform on-demand scans of local media.

Windows Live OneCare is Microsoft's subscription-based PC protection
service for nonenterprise computers. For $49.95 a year, OneCare will
cover up to three PCs, giving you anti-virus, anti-spyware, host-based
firewall, performance tune-ups, backups, and automated Windows patch
management. About the only thing it is missing ...

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