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Microsoft Beta Includes Built-in Virus Scanner 867

Posted by michael
from the goodbye-norton-and-mcafee dept.
Ethereal writes "InternetNews.com reports that Microsoft has begun beta-testing a built-in virus scanner for its Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) that will be included in the final product in mid-2004. The tool is among the operating system enhancements the Redmond, Wash., company is developing as part of its Security Center initiative to rebuff viruses, worms, trojans and crackers. Microsoft will also provide free online training to help developers make the most of SP2's security features, Chairman Bill Gates said at today's RSA Security conference. It's the first time the company has offered training with a Windows service pack release."
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Microsoft Beta Includes Built-in Virus Scanner

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  • Oh boy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lord Grey (463613) * on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:37PM (#8378908)
    I bet the anti-virus software companies are really going to like this one.
    • by LordKazan (558383) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:39PM (#8378962) Homepage Journal
      I love the smell of Antitrust Lawsuits in the Morning.

      I bet the anti-virus software companies are really going to like this one.


      How long do you think it will take for Symantic, etc to file antitrust against microsoft. 6 months? 12 Months?

      How about not making it so easily vulnerable to viruses in the first place. This is like putting a band-aid on a arterial wound. Microsoft needs to get a clue.
    • Re:Oh boy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:54PM (#8379203)
      Quite possibly they will.


      MSDOS 6 had a virus scanner and it was such a pointless, easily circumventable, obsolete, watered down piece of shit that anyone wanting a real scanner had to pay for a real product anyway.


      And of course because MSDOS shipped with a broken virus scanner, it meant users got a false sense of security and plenty more viruses did the rounds despite of it.


      So while it might seem that shipping a scanner is a good idea for security, in practice it will probably make the situation even worse than it is now.

      • Re:Oh boy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by 0x0d0a (568518) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:56PM (#8379968) Journal
        MS DOS 6 lacked widespread network access. All Microsoft has to do is make Windows Update provide the latest virus definitions.

        You think that it won't be worth it for Microsoft to provide AV service for free? I'll bet it will. All the people pirating Windows will be lacking AV service then...at some point, Microsft is bound to start blocking Windows Update service to pirated copies of Windows.
  • Riiiight (Score:5, Funny)

    by VFVTHUNTER (66253) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:37PM (#8378914) Homepage
    You install the software, boot it for the first time, run its virus scanner, which uninstalls said software. Nice, Huh?
  • this next service pack is going to seriously fuck up some software industries... a better personal firewall, a popup killer, and now antivirus, all now bundled with the OS? and free?!

    it's good that MS is being proactive (and i don't think they're doing this on purpose -- there is of course legitimate demand for these features), but it's chilling to see how they're capable of slaying entire software industries with the press of a button. this is going to RAPE antivirus/firewall/popup killing companies/industries, even if they have better products -- most consumers, and even a good chunk of small to mid-size businesses, only need a basic virus scanner, for example. and it's pretty fucking hard to compete with OS-preinstalled AND free.

    sigh. grab your ankles [yahoo.com].

    of course this doesn't apply to all software products, but, what's the incentive to create a clever software product anymore, especially a small but ingenious shareware-type app, if all it takes is for MS to assign a couple of lackeys in MS Research to duplicate your product and then preinstall it with the next version of the OS for free? obligatory examples are netscape and winzip but really they're innumerable.

    next on death row: spam stoppers, anti-spyware utils...

    they really ought to have split MS up.

    -fren
    • I'm sure the initial product will be free, but something makes me think that MS will be just as eager to charge you a monthly fee for Virus Definition Updates.
    • by lionchild (581331) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:40PM (#8378983) Journal
      Well, perhaps this time around, we'll get it for free. However, how much will it cost us in the next versions lisence? Or when we renew corporate agreements? And support agreements? Oh, sure...it's just an extra $50/seat!

      I can see the hand writing on the wall now.
    • by funny-jack (741994) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:42PM (#8379009) Homepage
      If there's one software industry I wouldn't shed many tears over the loss of, it's the one whose business model is to profit thanks to viruses.

      Get Grisoft. [grisoft.com]
    • by MBraynard (653724) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:42PM (#8379015) Journal
      No joke! I'm still angry about Henry Ford putting all those carriage makers out of business.

      Oh, you are being serious. A company does something to make it's customers happy, and you want government gangsters to split them up because they put someone else out of business? As a consumer, what entitles TrendMicro to my $$$ when I would rather give it to MS (or not give it - service packs are free.

      Get a clue. Just because you can write code doesn't mean you understand economics [capitalism.org].

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:53PM (#8379189)
        I agree with the poster when he (or she) said Get a clue. Just because you can write code doesn't mean you understand economics.

        Anyone who can't see past the words anti and trust are missing the point completely. For too long, McAfee and Symantec have produced inferior, bloated, virus scanners. Combine their personal firewall and anti-spam software, along with one of their anti-virus packages, and you've just blown nearly 32 megabytes of RAM on UI enhancements.

        NOD32 works so much better, and in a smaller, less bloated interface. Yes, you also have to pay for it, and it's not a well-known big name company. However, you won't find a better anti-virus package on the planet. Check out their awards here [nod32.com].

        If Microsoft wants to bundle this stuff with SP2, then I'm all for it. Free, and forced down your throat so the majority of moronic users stop getting their boxes infected by the latest worm-du-jour.
      • by Aneurysm9 (723000) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:10PM (#8379395)
        I think you're the one who needs to buy a clue. Microsoft's bundling is not comparable to Ford putting carriage makers out of business. Killing the market for a competing product by producing a better, more efficient product is not a problem. What is a problem is killing the market for a competing product by using a monopoly product as a platform for distributing a knock-off of the competing product. It would be more like Ford, being the only maker of automobiles, including an in-dash navigation system using their own GPS satelite network in order to kill the market for aftermarket navigation systems. Add to that Ford taking measures to ensure that you can't remove the navigation system to replace it with another without rendering the entire vehicle useless even though the navigation system isn't strictly necessary to operate the vehicle and you've got a much better approximation of Microsoft's anti-competitive activities.
        • It would be more like Ford, being the only maker of automobiles, including an in-dash navigation system using their own GPS satelite network in order to kill the market for aftermarket navigation systems.

          Kind of like what GM does with their OnStar system? And like every manufacturer is now doing with anti-theft devices (immobilizers, etc.)? Viruses in the Windows world is an everyday reality and this is a good step to take, just as vehicle theft is an everyday reality in the automobile world and the ma
      • by divide overflow (599608) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:10PM (#8379400)
        >A company does something to make it's customers happy, and you want government gangsters to split them up because they put someone else out of business? As a consumer, what entitles TrendMicro to my $$$ when I would rather give it to MS (or not give it - service packs are free.

        Yet, when Linus Torvalds offers a free Linux kernel to the world, SCO tells the U.S. Congress (your "Government Gangsters") that Linux is a threat to the security and economy of the U.S. Ironic, huh?
      • The car vs carriage analogy isn't valid.

        The competitive advantage of cars over carriages is that cars are more useful than carriages.

        In this case, MS isn't providing a more useful virus scanner or a better product. Their virus scanner will arguably be less useful than existing offerings in the market. However, (and this is where my anticompetitive gripe comes from) they're able to instantly capture a majority stake of any given market just because they own the underlying platform, whereas other vendors are forced to blow millions on sales and marketing and trying to entice consumers to download and install their product. To add insult to injury, MS includes the product for free with the OS, knowing that given a free pre-installed product that's "good enough" the vast majority will be too lazy to look for better alternatives.

        -fren
    • by pcx (72024) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:43PM (#8379033)
      Hmm so Microsoft can't add anything to their product because there's another company already doing the same thing for their product. Yea that's really bright. Lets deny MS the right to improve their OS then Linux will be the defacto OS -- but oh wait, gotta rip out the firewall because norton makes one, gotta rip out the browser because that would stomp on opera. Rip out that media player because we gotta make sure REAL makes money, oh lord we can't forget about real.

      And splitting up MS wouldn't have done jack squat about this. The OS division would have happilly put in virus and firewall protection and you know why? BECAUSE THAT KIND OF STUFF BELONGS IN THE OS! (WoW). Shoot, we can be grateful they didn't split MS up because then the OS division would be all over the place and wouldn't have to worry about bogus (don't let them improve the product!) BS like this.
    • by spacefrog (313816) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:46PM (#8379091)
      obligatory examples are netscape and winzip

      The ZIP handling features in XP are licensed from WinZip. I'm sure Microsoft is by far and away Niko's best customer.
    • by rixstep (611236) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:55PM (#8379216) Homepage
      Parent is spot-on, and I think the companies mentioned have it coming to them, but I think it's a lot more serious than this, and I don't otherwise think either side is categorically wrong.

      My estimate is that 80% or more of the software sold for the Windows platform is 'compensatory': it's stuff you wouldn't dream of having if Windows were as adequate as it should be.

      Virus scanners, personal firewalls, trojan eliminators, anti-hacker tools - we're always back to square one: Microsoft let the demons in to start with. As Bill Joy so eloquently put it:

      They took systems designed for isolated desktop systems and put them on the net without thinking about evildoers.

      Apple Macs come with a built-in firewall, and I don't see anybody complaining over there. They also come with a built-in mail filter, and the same thing applies: no one is complaining. In fact, it all makes good sense.

      Your Windows 'cottage industries' are never never never going to enlighten their clients anyway. They're never going to really care for them, and tell them the truth, that the easiest way out of this slaughter that continues every day is to ditch the Microsoft ship. No, they want you to keep using Windows; they want you to keep getting the shit kicked out of you; if you migrated to Unix, they'd be penniless.

      The ultimate irony of course is that Microsoft themselves are now mucking with 'compensatory' software - instead of fixing the holes that make such gems necessary in the first place (something they're most likely incapable of doing anyway).

      No solutions; just observations. The world goes round.
    • by El (94934) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:56PM (#8379228)
      The difference is that McAffee, Norton, et. al. have a vested interest in there being lots of new viruses, which leads me to wonder if they don't also assist in creating them. Microsoft has a vested interest in not having their software be perceived as being susceptible to viruses, so this might actually be a feature best provided by the OS vendors themselves -- much as I hate to admit it.
    • The Anti-Virus makers have totally missed the entire spyware industry in their AV products, instead recommeding that you buy their whole suite that includes a pop up blocker, anti-spam filter, and firewall-for-newbies product. They then price that suite at three times the cost of the original AV program.

      The truth is, it'd be much easier if we just had one program-scanner that'd alert on both viruses and trojan horses, and the better spam products are coming from suppliers who don't have AV products, and fi
    • Every time a new creative utility popped up, the would make their own version which was bundled into the OS. Every time the third party vendors would be pissed. But on the flip side when all was said and done, bundling the functionality really did improve things for the user.

      Bundling is a interesting issue. There really are legitimate reasons why it is better to provide one integrated package, but from a market point of view it just reaks of anti-competitive behavior. Which is another reason why open sourc
      • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:19PM (#8379497) Journal
        In Apple's case, it actually hurt them, since it tended to drive away all the vendors (who happily relocated to Windows). Apple stopped developing their solution once they were happy with how well it worked, and the developers kept advancing.

        I mean, I can't even count how many utilities this happened with. I can't think of a really good solution for Apple, though...

        I do have to say that including a virus scanner with the OS makes more sense than almost anything else being bundled. It helps patch security holes. It makes it a bitch and a half to pirate Windows (sure, you can pirate it, but you damn well aren't getting any antivirus service -- have fun when the next wave of worms rolls around). It helps Microsoft look good -- instead of Symantec advisories coming out saying "Windows has another worm coming out, buy our AV product", Microsoft says "There was a worm released and we squashed it. Just hit Windows Update."

        I'm sure that this thing can be abused and whatnot, but Microsoft could seriously get a lot of mileage out of AV software.

        Note that it *is* going to be fun if MS ever fires off false positives, though -- every Windows box on Earth starts going spastic over some innocent package.

        This is the second time today that I've felt that Microsoft is doing, if not the "right" thing, something better than their competitors. The world is standing on end.
  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:37PM (#8378926) Journal
    Will the inclusion of A default Scanner kill Norton and Mcaffee? I think they are now sitting ducks. why buy what comes free with your new computer?
  • by glen604 (750214) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:37PM (#8378927)
    Error! Error! entire system has holes in it for potential viruses. Please change operating systems or send us money immediately!
  • McAffee, Norton? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nycsubway (79012) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:38PM (#8378932) Homepage
    What happens with these programs? Does both the Windows virus scanner and the 3rd party work at the same time? Or is it something that you can set in the settings, like "default browser".

    Interesting!

  • by BigZaphod (12942) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:38PM (#8378944) Homepage
    But a good idea, I guess. I'm kind of surprised they didn't get into the anti-virus biz a long time ago. Maybe they felt it would be an admission of weakness or something.
    • Microsoft WAS in the antivirus business a long time ago.

      Microsoft included "MSAV.EXE" [computerhope.com]--Microsoft Anti-Virus--with MS-DOS 6.0 back in the early 90's.

      It was, essentially, a cut-down derivative of Central Point Antivirus, which was actually developed by a company in Israel [victoria.tc.ca], not Central Point. Central Point was purchased by Symantec in 1994, and Microsoft quietly removed MSAV from their OS's when Symantec refused to supply updates and Yisrael Radai [google.com] wrote his now famous paper outlining how it was deeply fla

  • Anti-Trust? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sterno (16320) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:38PM (#8378947) Homepage
    Would this be a vioaltion of their anti-trust agreement? Seems like this could really put the hurt on Norton, etc.
    • Re:Anti-Trust? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dfj225 (587560) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:08PM (#8379374) Homepage Journal
      This is really a tough one. Windows currently has a firewall included, which is not technically core to the operating system, but of enough importance, in my opinion, to be included with all operating systems. I think you can argue that anti-virus is along the same lines. If you think about this in terms of another product, say a car, it might be clearer. When cars were first invented they didn't have seat belts. Suppose there was a company that decided to sell after-market seat belts for the cars. Now today, every car has to have seat belts as required by law. When the change occurred do you think that the seat belt company should have sued the car makers? It is true that the belt is not required by the car to operate, but it is a safety feature that everyone should use. The same can be said about anti-virus. It is not necessary to the operating system, but seriously bad things could happen from not using an anti-virus system. I think that anti-virus is so core to the security of Windows that it should be included. Also, you have to note the fact that many users don't know enough or care enough to buy anti-virus or keep their system updated. I think that the world might be a better place if the users were taken out of the equation when it comes to anti-virus.
      • Re:Anti-Trust? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jesser (77961)
        When the change occurred do you think that the seat belt company should have sued the car makers?

        No, because no car maker was a monopoly.

        I think that anti-virus is so core to the security of Windows that it should be included.

        IMO, anti-virus software (software that detects known viruses or detects unknown viruses based only on heuristics) is a bad workaround for insecurity, not a security measure.
  • by Richard_at_work (517087) * <richardprice.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:38PM (#8378950)
    Monopolistic overreaching of power, or fantastic move to combat viruses? It doesnt really matter, as MS is going to be both praised and sued for this move, even tho it may turn out to be a great one. You cant satisfy all of the people all of the time.
    • by DeVilla (4563) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:58PM (#8379262)
      ...as MS is going to be both praised and sued for this move, even tho it may turn out to be a great one.

      And then again, it might not. One would have to assume that they would do a better job writting anti-virus software than they do writting virus proof software in order believe that this is a good move. Otherwise, everyone will run the bundled AV telling themselves their safe, while hackers (the blackhats) can focus on a single AV program to fool. It just means that the RPC virus needs to disable MSAV before uploading it's payload.
  • so... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pvt_medic (715692) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:39PM (#8378952)
    same thing as releasing security updates. But they can set it up to automatically update with this heading and people are less likely to disable it.
  • by readpunk (683053) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:39PM (#8378955) Homepage Journal
    A single byte of new code spawned from the beast just leads to another potential for 1000 bytes of code to exploit it. When will they learn to remove instead of add?
  • by Channard (693317) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:39PM (#8378959) Journal
    ... Microsoft will be including a scanner which can scan for viruses which get in through security holes in their OS?

    Ow. I think I just broke my brain.
  • by el-spectre (668104) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:39PM (#8378967) Journal
    Isn't it a really bad idea to have the primary defense mechanism INTEGRATED WITH THE OPERATING SYSTEM? What the hell?
  • Ms did this before (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tekiegreg (674773) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:39PM (#8378968) Homepage Journal
    In DOS 6.22 they included a virus scanner [pmt.org] with the operating system. A deviation of the now defunct central point anti-virus software. Anybody got any idea why they quit doing that in Win95 and beyond? My theories are as follows:

    • After central point died, MS just didn't bother trying another one
    • Another anti virus vendor cried "Anti-Trust!" and MS backed down
    • None were ready for Win95 at the time
    • MS just didn't care
    • Any combo of the above...
    I can't help but think though, had MS continued with offering anti-virus software, they MyDoom virus (amongst other worms) might have been a fraction of the attack it was...so sad...
  • by Dr Reducto (665121) * on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:40PM (#8378978) Journal
    What kind of viruses will the scanner delete?

    Will we have the choice to turn theirs off?

    I mean, Microsoft is so lax with their security updates, I am not sure if they would create a false sense of security. Also, what if Microsoft detects illegal software? Is this a virus? Will we retain control? Is this a premonition of the TCPA?
  • OEM bundles... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dwedit (232252) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:41PM (#8378992) Homepage
    Dell WinME machines still came preloaded with WinDVD, despite the built in DVD player of WinME. It's all up to Gateway, Dell and such whether to include additional software to match a build in OS feature.
    • by motown (178312) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @08:29PM (#8380348)
      Microsoft provides neither an MPEG2 codec nor a CSS decrypter as part of any Windows version.

      In order to watch DVD's under Windows, a third party solution (such as WinDVD or PowerDVD) is still required.

      Granted, when such a third party-player is installed, Windows Media Player also becomes DVD-enabled automatically, because it will immediately take advantage of the newly installed DVD-related shared libs.

      So even if people solely use WMP to watch DVD's, they'll still need third-party software.

      Therefore, the same anti-trust argument, as in the case of Netscape, Real and now possibly the antivirus solution providers, doesn't apply here.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:42PM (#8379010)
    Microsoft Beta Includes Built-in Virus Scanner

    Time to dump your McAfee and Simantec stock as fast as possible.

    Isn't that a brilliant scam? (1) Microsoft messes up and makes virus- and worm-prone products. (2) A whole industry develops around the Microsoft flaws like mold on cheese, (3) Microsoft takes over the Microsoft-problem-solving industry.

    Brilliant, just brilliant. These guys never cease to amaze me.
  • by Eric_Cartman_South_P (594330) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:42PM (#8379012)
    Joint press release from McAffee, Symantec & AVG:

    "Holy fucking shit fuck!"

  • Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LittleLebowskiUrbanA (619114) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:43PM (#8379034) Homepage Journal
    Crushing the anitvirus industry in the name of security. Good one. I'm sure Longhorn will have more advanced CD burning capabilities too. Wonder what the folks at Symantec and McAfee think about this?
  • Virus scanner (Score:5, Informative)

    by asmussen (2306) <asmussen@NoSpam.cox.net> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:43PM (#8379053)
    I've been working with beta builds of SP2 at work, and from looking at it, I am under the impression that what Microsoft is actually including is not actually a virus scanner, but rather integration with 3rd party virus scanners. The last build I tested (2077), complained that I didn't have any virus scanning software installed, and suggested that I remedy the situation. Poking around revealed that it has the capability to work with many existing virus scanning packages, and warn you when your virus definitions are out of date, and possibly even keep them up to date for you. Of course, maybe what I've seen so far is only a prelude to full blown anti-virus software from MS...
  • by Richard_L_James (714854) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:44PM (#8379069)
    ... when it was reported last year by ZDNET [zdnet.co.uk] / news.com [com.com] / Network Fusion [nwfusion.com] / pcmag [pcmag.com]... that Microsoft were to buy a Romanian antivirus company !
  • Public Relations (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brahmastra (685988) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:45PM (#8379073)
    They will probably avoid all the public relations nightmares surrounding security updates by embedding the security updates in the Virus definition updates. Then, it won't look like the OS is broke anymore.. It'll just be "Virus definition updates" everyday.
  • by NeoGeo64 (672698) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:49PM (#8379129)
    You're bitching because Microsoft finally added a popup blocker, a better firewall, and some AV utils?

    If Microsoft didn't include these items, you'd be the same one fucking bitching that they weren't securing their software good enough.
  • by thesolo (131008) * <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:50PM (#8379144) Homepage
    This goes back to Tim Bray's Sharecropper Analogy [tbray.org].

    Essentially, the idea is that if you're not developing for an open platform, you're a sharecropper. Your entire existance as a developer is predicated on the fact that you're working for someone else's platform that they own and control. If they decide that they like your product's functionality, they can either buy you out, or simply integrate it into the platform, most likely putting you out of business.

    Apple has does this in the past, with Watson & Sherlock, and Microsoft has done this many, many times. Netscape, Winamp, and now Norton & McAfee. Microsoft has a pattern of simply offering a product as an additional download, then tying it into the next version of the OS with no real way to remove it.

    What this means for Norton, McAfee, Trend Micro, and the dozens of other AV people is not exactly clear yet. But it's a good possibility that many of their employees will be touching up their resumes once this Service Pack gets released. Unless, of course, they sue MS. Either way, I see this as a major strain on their business relationships with Microsoft.
  • by John the Kiwi (653757) <(kiwi) (at) (johnthekiwi.com)> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:53PM (#8379191) Homepage
    This is not a free service from Microsoft. It is a free update, but the cost of the service will be built into Windows, either through an update fee or with the Operating System tax that goes directly to Microsoft when you buy your computer.

    I think it's the only thing Microsoft can do to "make it right". After all, why should third parties be responsible for tracking viruses and such when it's Microsoft's fault for allowing them to exist in the first place?

    I am forever telling my customers to buy antivirus software and making sure that their definitions are up to date, this is an added tax that corporations should never have had to pay. It's rediculous that in order to run a Microsoft product less adept users are forced to pay $40 for antivirus software and then $20 a year to keep getting definition updates. It often seems like an added tax that you're forced to pay even after you've already paid Microsoft for the privilege of using Windows.

    So good for Microsoft. They've saved the bulk of their customers that much more money per annum and I think it is well past time they did this.

    John the Kiwi
  • by Tweaker_Phreaker (310297) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:58PM (#8379254)
    Has anybody actually been able to try this beta to see if there really is AV software included? The screenshots [neowin.net] I've seen of a slightly older build (2077) show that it's only recommending you to install AV, not that it already has it.
  • by Mulletproof (513805) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @06:58PM (#8379256) Homepage Journal
    So who was the first to bitch about MS's anti-competitive practices with this one? When are you elitist opensource primadonnas* going to realize that MS can build anything it damn well wants to into it's OS? For fucks sake, you cry about MS security, well here's an extra layer of it built into the OS and we're alrady whining about anti-competitive practices. Will you people PLEASE buy some consistancy here???? And WTF are you worried about anyway? If MS is as bad as you say it is, the anti-virus community doesn't have a damn thing to worry about. MS added native file compression to windows. THAT software industry is alive and well. They added native CD burning. THAT industry is alive and well too. Media playback? Check. Firewall? Ditto.

    Shut your gob for once. Please.

    *Not all open-sourcers, but you know who you are. You probably just modded me down, infact.

  • by rjelks (635588) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:06PM (#8379352) Homepage
    I'm not sure that this is such a bad idea. Hear me out before the flames start. :) I've discovered too many family members and coworkers that aren't even running with an antivirus program (I did fix those). I know that the MS firewall (if you can call it that) works like crap, but I think all of the non-tech people could benefit. I'm sure you'll be able to disable it and keep NAV or others on your machines. This will benefit all of those people who don't know what an antivirus program is. This will benefit the users who open up any attachment and spread the viruses. While it could give a false sense of security, I think for all of the people without AV, at least they'll have some protection. When it comes down to it, I don't think Microsoft is trying to put the AV companies out of business (I know that this flies in the face of history). They've had a lot of criticism for all of the security holes and viruses on their platform so I think this is their solution. As soon as a worm like MyDoom is discovered, they could automatically update all of the AV programs and block many of them. There are a lot of windows users out there that have no idea what security means at all. I for one, am glad there will be at least a minimal protection installed by default on those peoples machines. Until we can force computing licenses, I think this may turn out to be a good thing for the tech-illiterate. Now, I still don't think that Norton or McAfee will be happy.

    -
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:07PM (#8379358)
    In order for Linux to remain competitive we should also start bundling some linux A/V software with our distributions. To facilitate this I have included the source for a feature rich virus detecter and removal program for Linux.

    #include
    #include

    int
    main(int argc, char **argv)
    {
    int i;
    printf("scanning");
    for (i = 0; i 8; i++)
    {
    sleep(1);
    printf(".");
    }
    printf("\nSCAN COMPLETE, YOUR COMPUTER IS VIRUS FREE.\n");

    return 0;
    }
  • by kompiluj (677438) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:10PM (#8379396)
    When in Windows95/98 appeared stripped versions of programs from Norton Utilities Tools Package nobody complained (for instance the SpeedDisk(Defragmenter), Disk Doctor (ScanDisk), etc.). Those tools were sooo limited that they were good incentive to buy Norton.
    On the other hand remember Norton Commander? Total Commander has killed it.
  • by Jade E. 2 (313290) <slashdot&perlstorm,net> on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:11PM (#8379408) Homepage
    Wow, I feel old now, nobody has mentioned yet that this isn't the first time MS has done this... Back in DOS 6.xx they included MSAV, a command line virus scanner, and VSAFE, a memory resident program that watched for suspicious activity (formatting drives, writing to the boot sector, etc.)

    I believe they were stripped down versions of Central Point Antivirus (which later got bought out by Symantec) in much the same way that the later DOS's SCANDISK and DEFRAG utilities were stripped down versions of the Norton's Utilites that performed the same functions...

    I don't see why MS would bother to write their own virus scanner this time around, either... I'd think either of the big 2 companies would jump at the chance to license MS a stripped down version of their product, with a convenient "Upgrade now!" button prominently displayed, of course. Or maybe even the full product, but you'd still need a definition subscription from them. Basically, whichever company did it, would put the other one out of the desktop market.

    I don't think either big player will go under, though, both McAfee and Symantec have well entrenched server markets... At one previous employer (Gov agency), the inter-departmental flame wars over what (if any) virus scanner to standardize on for departmental email servers reached a 'vi vs emacs'-like level.

  • by nightcrawler77 (644839) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:22PM (#8379511)
    I'm always amazed at how much patchwork goes into securing the Windows desktop.

    An obvious first (and large) step would be to not have every user running with Administrator privileges. Has anyone heard of any initiative by Microsoft to change this unfortunate default?

    Wouldn't running your everyday apps (e.g. Outlook, IE) as a non-privileged user mitigate a lot of these worms? Some of the worms that just blast off a emails via script would be unaffected, but those that install SMTP servers and other backdoor processes would be stopped.

    The current setup seems just like giving everyone a key to your house and then hiring a team of live-in security guards.

    Too bad Microsoft's software features are ultimately dictated by their marketing department and not by the user community. I really feel they need to break backwards compatibility, force users (even so-called "Power Users") to use unprivileged accounts, and provide a convenient equivalent to Unix's "su".

    Sure, a lot of companies would have to release updates in order to cope with use by non-administrative users, but with the current hype around security these days, I would think most companies would be willing to do so for little or no charge. Most average Joes these days have heard of viruses, worms, etc...I think it would be really bad PR for a company to say, "well, MS improved the security of Windows, and it broke our software." Most, it seems, would rather say, "MS improved the security of Windows and our software is no exception...here's the free update you need."

  • by Michalson (638911) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @07:44PM (#8379793)
    So where does the line come between MS enhancing Windows and using Windows to force competitors out of the market?

    Should Windows not come with a firewall because someone else makes a firewall (Zone Alarm)? Should Windows not come with a browser, because someone else makes a browser(Netscape)? Should Windows not come with a TCP/IP stack, because someone else makes one(Trumpet)? Should Windows not include multitasking, a GUI or a memory manager because someone else makes those things? (DESQVIEW, Dr-DOS, QEMM)?

    As time marches on things progress. In 1993 it was perfectly acceptable for a computer to require $80 worth of additional software just to browse the Internet. In 1998 you expected to be able to plug in a brand new Windows machine, tell it the number of your ISP, and be browsing the web right away.

    Now if the only way you could buy Windows was by also buying Office that would be an abuse. But does anyone complain that a perfectly usable word processor, WordPad, is included with Windows? No, because it's a basic application. It's designed to give the casual, out of the box user the basic functionality they expect from their Windows computer. Windows XP included a basic firewall, the idea being that security was becoming a requirement rather then a luxury and so users should have something out of the box. Now is the included firewall very sophisticated? No. If you want a professional firewall you get one yourself. Same could be said for a lot of other features; you want a browser with tabs, popup blocking, automatic history on open, etc? Get a "professional" browser like Opera. The time has come that virus scanning is a requirement, not a luxury that only the 5% of users with a clue should have. MyDoom spread like wildfire, despite it being an easily detectable virus totally blocked by any version of Outlook updated in the last few years and requiring total user stupidity. MyDoom makes MS look bad because the child like masses expect someone else to take care of them. While some people want a professional virus scanner, the average 90% user wants it to be dealt with from the moment they turn on their Gateway machine.
  • What a peculiar move isnt it? If the problem lies in the underlying system why bolt some more services ontop of it? The solution should be to prevent virueses to propagate in the first place. A virus scanner is only an intermidiate solution to a problem in windows, its by no mesure any real solution. Why not be bold and use a sandbox to open attachements in? Bochs style anyone? I can come up with numerous things that would be better than a virus scanner ontop of my head, why cant they?

    I am stunned by how incredibly good salesmen they are and at the same time such loosers come to technology.
  • by Cereal Box (4286) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @08:29PM (#8380352)
    OK, I've heard a lot of rants about how evil Microsoft is for bundling a virus scanner (big surprise). They're going to put all these AV software companies out of business. OK. Well, let's imagine a very hypothetical situation: one day, Microsoft releases a service pack that renders all Windows operating systems completely immune to viruses and worms and we're to assume that new viruses and worms never appear. That's good, right? But wait -- those AV companies will go out of business! That's wrong and Microsoft is evil for patching up their operating system, right?

    Since that scenario clearly will never happen, Microsoft is instead opting to create a program that will, in theory, eliminate or significantly reduce the threat of viruses and worms on their operating system. The end result of either patching up the OS or creating a good, integrated AV program is the same -- significant reduction of viruses and worms, much to the detriment of existing AV software. What's the big deal?

    As much talk as I hear on Slashdot about how record companies are trying to cash in on a dead business model, I'm baffled that is hasn't occurred to anyone that AV companies are cashing in on a business model that, in theory, will completely dry up.
  • Not my problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @09:28PM (#8380889)
    I've seen a whole lot of people complaining about antitrust issues, but to be honest, that's not my problem with this issue. My problem is how much control I'm going to have over my own machine.

    I use a number of programs for which Microsoft has "integrated" alternatives. I use ACDSee Classic as an image viewer, I use Nero for burning CDs, I use WinRAR for archiving, I use Mozilla for web-browsing, I use Miranda for IM.

    But to get ACDSee to work, I had to wend my way through assorted registry entries to disable the MS integrated version (changing registered filetypes wasn't enough). To uninstall MSN Messenger, I had to fiddle around with an .ini file and then uninstall it, and the system now generates an error message when a new user logs on for the first time because it can't find MSN.

    If Microsoft bundled an AV solution with Windows, and included it in the "Add/Remove Software" selection, as every other application is, or provided an uninstallation tool, I wouldn't mind. But based on track history, I'm going to be stuck with a lump of code taking up at the least disk space, and probably memory space and CPU time, that I don't use, don't want, and can't get rid of.
  • by IBitOBear (410965) on Tuesday February 24, 2004 @09:36PM (#8380940) Homepage Journal
    {Little Explosive Icon}
    This program has not been signed by Microsoft!

    It may be a virus...

    {Why Microsoft Signing is important link}

    (Button "Delete") (Button "Cancel" that ends whole virus scan) (Button "Invite Auditor")

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