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Microsoft Security Operating Systems Software Windows

Microsoft Anti-Spyware to Be Free of Charge 470

Posted by Zonk
from the just-the-right-price dept.
fubar1971 writes "During his keynote speech at the at the RSA Security Conference Bill Gates announced that the MS antispyware will be offered for free. From his speech: 'We've looked hard at the nature of this problem, and made a decision that this anti-spyware capability will become something that's available at no additional charge for Windows users -- both the blocking capability, and the scanning and removal capabilities.' Additional information at Government Computer News." Update: 02/16 16:57 GMT by Z : Microsoft was previously considering charging extra for this service.
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Microsoft Anti-Spyware to Be Free of Charge

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  • by Cy Guy (56083) * on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:20PM (#11689306) Homepage Journal
    I've been running this on one of my XP boxes since it came out. Here are a couple of caveats:
    • It creates (what I consider to be) an absurdly large error.log file, on mine it had reached nearly 1Gb in about a month. I have since created a read-only dummy version of the file so it can't write to it anymore and it hasn't seemed to affect the program.
    • When installed while Admin it's installed for every user, which I guess you would want the blocking for every user, but not necessarily the scanning and program update features, - which leads to ...
    • Running as Admin it doesn't find suspicious Registry Entries in other users' User Registries, which means you could be the admin on an infested machine and not know it - this is on an XP Home box, so perhaps it's different on XP Pro?
    • Though called a beta, I haven't been able to find a way to report these bugs/flaws/'features' to MS.
    • by dsginter (104154) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:25PM (#11689367)
      Great suggestions... it would be nice to see them in the finished product. One thing that I'd like to see:

      IDIOT PROOFING

      Right now, the software is far too intrusive in many modes. I just want something that will run when the screensaver comes on (or the PC is locked) and eliminates a predetermined "level" of crap. This would be a blessing for anyone who has to remove this crap all of the time.
    • by aug24 (38229) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:27PM (#11689391) Homepage
      It's fairly normal for a test-phase application to do more logging than is even faintly reasonable for a release-phase application. Mine do.

      For the next two points, I have never thought the MS multi-user model was worth its weight in rat shit. YMMV ;-) "Fast user switching" should be, well, fast. Like pressing ctrl-alt-f8 fast. Ho hum.

      Last point? Well, I have always wondered if MS developers put their beta-ware out for testing, then sit back and go "hey, no bugs yet" for three months, then release it, all the while never even noticing that they forgot to build the feedback mechanism ;-)

      Justin.
    • Hmm I installed it via Windows update and haven't even been able to find out what it does yet.

      I suspect the one on WU is an earlier beta than you have... I have no error.log file.

      It's true it doesn't find much... I've even tried deliberately infecting myself. Missed it completely... maybe I have to log in as administrator first :)
    • by mzwaterski (802371) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:33PM (#11689474)
      To report bugs/request features you could try the newsgroup that they have setup:

      http://communities.microsoft.com/newsgroups/defaul t.asp?ICP=spywareus [microsoft.com]

    • by ePhil_One (634771) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:37PM (#11689518) Journal
      Though called a beta, I haven't been able to find a way to report these bugs/flaws/'features' to MS.

      MS has a newsgroup for this purpose. Yeah its lame, but its findable and web accessible.

      Fun bug: Put your task bar on the side of the screen (I keep mine there hidden but wide, when it pops out, lots of tasks are very readable). Now write a batch script and try to run it. A popup is triggered asking if you really want to do that, problem is it "scrolls" into the screen, but since there's no task bar in the way it keeps scrolling right off the screen! So you can't run your script and you can't clear the popup, which remains in highest in your - list till you reboot :)

      Mmmm, Microsoft goodness

      • That's a known bug! It's quite fun to watch. :) And technically, it's Giant goodness, not Microsoft. The team is working on a fix.
      • I don't think anyone ever tests their software with the taskbar anywhere but at the bottom.

        I run mine at the top because, well, that's where it should be =)

        and the amount of times I've had to turn on auto-hide or somesuch just so I can ge to the control boxes of applications. The stupid "we know best" attitude where they don't enable alt-space (Winamp for instance) for moving windows via the keyboard really winds me up.

        Makes it worse after using elightenment and pressing alt-left-click to move windows ar
        • by afidel (530433) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @01:36PM (#11690245)
          Yeah, and it is a systemic problem. When Windows 2000 came out I worked at a very large network equipment manufacturer, and most of our engineers had dual headed windows machines. Well most engineers also run an X package to talk to their Unix workstation and/or the Unix servers. So we upgrade a couple dozen test users to 2000, and 3 of them are having really weird graphics problems with the X package. I get on the phone with tech support, and after going through first and second level support I get placed in contact with the developer. We eventually figure out is that windows sends incorrect screen geometry if the taskbar is anywhere but at the bottom of the left display with autohide disabled, if it's anywhere else, including on the right monitor, or at the top ala mac's then windows sends essentially garbage screen geometry data. He came out with a patch within a couple weeks and we tested it and everything was ok from then on, but man was he pissed at the MS code monkeys and test department that let that through =)
    • Word DOC (Score:3, Funny)

      by Skiron (735617)
      Ahhh... but wait for the finished GOLD version - that will use a MS Word format as the log file, so you will easy reach 10GB in an hour.
  • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:20PM (#11689309) Homepage
    From the first Slashdot article blurb (emphasis mine):

    rscrawford writes "CNN reports that Microsoft may charge extra for security software. So first they edge their competition out of the browser market, then they tie IE into the OS so tightly that a crash in IE can crash the computer, and then they make IE so vulnerable that just using it is hazardous to the typical computer's health, and now they want to CHARGE users to fix it?"

    From today's Slashdot article blurb:

    Quite a turnaround from charging extra to free.

    Looks like they never said for sure that they were going to charge extra. As you can see above it said "may". Now, are we all going to whine that MSFT shouldn't be distributing software with their OS to combat spyware because it "may" edge out competition in the spyware removal market or are we just going to complain that they considered charging people to use it when they aren't now?

    Because MSFT software (browser, OS, and extras like ActiveX) should have been programmed correctly in the first place I would expect MSFT to distribute this software for free. People should be able to clear their computers out of what shouldn't have been there from the get go.

    Personally, I don't care. I will likely continue to use what I have been using all along (although I have been trying to use the Mac for most surfing) as recent testing has shown MSFT's solution to not be quite as good as third party offerings.
    • by DarkMantle (784415) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:27PM (#11689399) Homepage
      MSFT's solution to not be quite as good as third party offerings.

      Perhaps you forget, this used to be a third party offering. [giantcompany.com] And the reason MSFT bought them is they were the best at remeoving the spyware, and had the best detection methods.

      I was using Giant Antispyware for a few months before MS bought them. And I've seen very few changes (maybe because the Giant Company developers are still working on it.)
    • by AviLazar (741826) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:29PM (#11689421) Journal
      I like this anti-spyware program (was Giant's). I use it in place of adaware and spybot (which i used previously).

      While active-x, IE, and windows has its security holes - your statement makes it sound like it MS's fault for all of these spyware/virus programs. In all reality, it is the fault of the spyware/virus writers - they just found exploits in MS. So lets pass the blame accordingly.

      It is very nice of MS to offer this program "free" - considering they paid a big chunk of change for it. I don't actually consider it free, just an add-on to the OS that I already paid for.
      • by FluffyPanda (821763) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:46PM (#11689611)
        Bingo. People here on /. tend to forget that prefering linux doesn't mean that microsoft is always wrong.

        Maybe there are more exploits to be found in MS code than should really be the case, but that doesn't mean we should be knocking them for sandbagging the leaks as best they can.

        It seems to me that things are improving in MS land and, while I'll always prefer free/open source software, I won't be actively trying to find things to criticise when the beast actually does something right.
      • I find that when I use this software, it still misses a bit, and I still have to use Ad-aware SE, which still misses a bit, and I still have to use Spybot. And then I'm ok.....sometimes......

        Quite frankly, valuing one anti-spyware software over another is foolish. It has been proven over time that no anti-spyware software has been a true solution, and that using more than one is the best way to go. I would never replace one anti-spyware product with another in any near future. Rather, I would add it
      • by SunFan (845761) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:49PM (#11689647)
        ...it is the fault of the spyware/virus writers - they just found exploits in MS. So lets pass the blame accordingly.

        Okay. Microsoft Windows is like an expensive car parked in a bad part of town with the door unlocked and the keys in the ignition. The only thing lacking is the owner's signature on the title showing the transfer of ownership. Where Microsoft comes in is that it is not completely the owners fault: the car locks don't work all the time and the key is welded in place.

        There really are no "safe surfing" guidelines for new users. Do PC suppliers walk the user through buying the proper AV software and a dedicated firewall box for every sale? Do they or Microsoft tell people up-front to avoid websites with ActiveX? Wasn't it only recently that Windows XP firewall was even active by default?

        I feel fairly safe on the Internet--but I run UNIX on a non-Intel computer with a hand-tuned set of services and stack execute protection and a dedicated firewall running BSD. It took days to set this up, and I have a degree and work experience in IT. And I still worry, a little. Who knows when a JavaScript anomoly will be found, for example.

      • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:58PM (#11689749) Homepage
        I like this anti-spyware program (was Giant's). I use it in place of adaware and spybot (which i used previously).

        I like the software, too. I'm not sure it catches everything, but it seems to do a pretty good job. Plus, for the features present in Microsoft/Giant Antispyware alone, I had been running a whole host of free tools (spybot, adaware, spywareguard, spywareblaster, hijackthis!). I thought it was good software when made by the Giant Company, and so a free (and hopefully improved) version should be a nice thing to have.

        It is very nice of MS to offer this program "free"...

        Well, like I said, it's nice that it's free, but I wouldn't say that Microsoft is "being nice" by releasing it. They're merely protecting their business interests. People/businesses really are looking at OSX and Linux more and more as feasible alternatives to Windows, and with all the frustration people are experiencing associated with spyware, Microsoft is looking at a problem that could potentially be huge. They have a much better chance of maintaining their market dominance if they can demonstrate that Windows is a secure platform and that Microsoft is committed to keeping up with new security threats.

        BTW, I'm not complaining. I'm not saying, "Microsoft if evil because they're only doing this to keep their OS on top!" I don't think it's bad for a business to try to please their customers for the sake of long-term profitability (which this seems to be). What I have a hard time with is when businesses try to screw their customers for the sake of perceived profitability (which MS seems to do as well). In neither case, however, is Microsoft being "nice".

    • by pclminion (145572) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:34PM (#11689483)
      Now, are we all going to whine that MSFT shouldn't be distributing software with their OS to combat spyware because it "may" edge out competition in the spyware removal market or are we just going to complain that they considered charging people to use it when they aren't now?

      Uhhh... I don't think anybody's complaining that it'll "edge out" the competition. I'm all for the complete elimination of this entire industry. Spyware should not exist, and solutions to Spyware shouldn't be necessary.

      Here's why it's psychotic for them to have even considered charging for it: remember those Firestone tires that were blowing up left and right and killing people? What if Firestone had "considered" charging people to get those tires replaced? "On second thought, we figured it'd be nice to fix them for free." NO SHIT, Firestone/Microsoft.

      To even entertain a glimmer of a notion of a possibility of a thought of charging for this would have been moronic.

      • by garcia (6573) * on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:40PM (#11689559) Homepage
        Here's why it's psychotic for them to have even considered charging for it: remember those Firestone tires that were blowing up left and right and killing people? What if Firestone had "considered" charging people to get those tires replaced? "On second thought, we figured it'd be nice to fix them for free." NO SHIT, Firestone/Microsoft.

        It's kind of sick that in your mind you can justify equating possible HUMAN DEATH to spyware infections.

        Tires blowing out due to design flaws can end someone's life. Spyware infecting a computer due to design flaws can cause someone to format their hard-drive.

        Two entirely different worlds that are not comparable.
        • by pclminion (145572) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:53PM (#11689686)
          Tires blowing out due to design flaws can end someone's life. Spyware infecting a computer due to design flaws can cause someone to format their hard-drive.

          Don't be naive. The risks of spyware go far beyond lost data. I could write a piece of software than installed itself on my enemy's system and downloaded a bunch of kiddy porn. Or, I could install something onto the workstation of an FBI agent and manipulate data pertaining to a capital investigation. Or I could leak the identities of government agents. Need I continue?

          Spyware is a lethal risk. Just because nobody has written spyware of the sort I just described (actually, it probably does exist, we just don't know about it) doesn't mean the risk isn't there.

    • by dj245 (732906)
      Will it be available to people with 8in1 XP Pro official Bittorrent Edition versions of XP? Last I heard patches would not be available to known keys that were leaked. Would this be denied as well? Microsoft- Making the internet a dangerous place so that they can protect us from it.
    • by reporter (666905) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:40PM (#11689560) Homepage
      The current situation is that Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) is more highly susceptible to malware (e.g. spyware) than FireFox. You can confirm this situation by (1) using IE for a month to browse porn sites that are chock full of luscious, blonde lesbians and (2) using FireFox for a month to do the same thing. With IE, your computer will be so contaminated with spyware that you will be forced to re-install Windows. With FireFox, your computer will remain intact.

      So, in order to make IE competitive with FireFox, the management of Microsoft was forced by the economics of the market to give anti-spyware software away -- for free. Basically, FireFox and its startling growth in marketshare forced Microsoft to be generous.

      Bill Gates once said that your computer screen is the most valuable piece of realestate in the world. The management at Microsoft intends to continue to be the owner of that realestate.

      Oh. Yes. "Thank you, Mozilla and Firefox! A job, well done!"

    • by shokk (187512) <ernieoporto&yahoo,com> on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @01:06PM (#11689839) Homepage Journal
      Also, I believe they were talking about the Personal version when they said "free". For a centralized corporate edition, they would most likely charge a fee. I would be very surprised if they didn't.

      If it were free for corporate use this would sink Spysweeper and CounterSpy, who both charge a per-seat license for a separate scanning system.

      Symantec is talking about adding spyware detection into their existing virus scanning software this March and we'll have to judge how effective the product is vs Microsoft's solution. Since they already offer a virus management solution in the corporate edition, this would allow companies already using it to just get the benefit in a simple upgrade that pushes from a central server to the clients.

  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:21PM (#11689314) Homepage Journal
    ... Doctor's who leave sponges and surgical instruments inside you body during an operation will now remove them at no extra cost to you!
    • by Trolling4Columbine (679367) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:27PM (#11689388)
      Microsoft is doing the Right Thing (tm) here, and all you have for them is more snide remarks?

      How effective this tool is remains to be seen, of course. But what's notable, IMHO, is that Microsoft is making a responsible gesture to their customers.

      It's OK to show a little appreciation sometimes, even for Microsoft.
      • IE's default security settings are the problem.

        IE needs to, by default, deny ANY apps, unless specifically added to a white list.
        • Spyware doesn't only infect computers via IE backdoor. I'd venture that most of it comes bundled with other "free" apps that people have to actively download and install.

          And keep in mind that the beta of IE7 is due out this summer, so we may get just what you're suggesting.
          • Whatever. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:53PM (#11689684)
            Spyware doesn't only infect computers via IE backdoor. I'd venture that most of it comes bundled with other "free" apps that people have to actively download and install.
            Whatever you want to believe. In my experience, it is from holes in IE.
            And keep in mind that the beta of IE7 is due out this summer, so we may get just what you're suggesting.
            Fuck their "betas".

            That's the same bullshit I hear from them with every single problem.

            "Wait until the next version."

            "You should upgrade to the newest version."

            Why is it so fucking hard for them to just issue a patch for their existing versions?

            • Re:Whatever. (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Combuchan (123208) *
              Why is it so fucking hard for them to just issue a patch for their existing versions?

              Why does the local phone company suck ass? Why do products break shortly after their warranty expires? Why do people dread returning stuff at Giant Box Retailer?

              The answer to all these questions is that they have your money already, and there is little incentive for them to care about you after the fact. In perfect competition, post-sale satisfaction is as crucial part as any, but in monopolistic, nobody really cares
          • Spyware doesn't only infect computers via IE backdoor. I'd venture that most of it comes bundled with other "free" apps that people have to actively download and install


            And burglars are more likely to get in through a window. But I still lock my doors.
          • If I recall correctly, IE7 will only run on XP or Longhorn, correct? What about Windows 2000, which is still "fully supported"?
      • This tool came from Giant, one of the best anti-spyware program writers. As far as I know, the only thing MS really did was relabel the program and make it free (it was a pay program before.)

        As for the grandparent poster - his analogy was poor - MS didn't leave the dirty sponge inside the patients body. It might be better to say that MS didn't seal up the cut to the persons body very well, allowing malware to enter it. In actuality, Windows and all its apps are huge - there is bound to be errors, bugs,
      • by gowen (141411)
        Their software was faulty, and it allowed hackers to turn machines into spam spewing zombies. Several years later, they partially fix the problem (although they treat only the symptons, and not the assorted IE/ActiveX holes that constitute the disease) and you want me to thank them?

        *boggle*
      • Re:Next week's news (Score:3, Interesting)

        by StormReaver (59959)
        "Microsoft is doing the Right Thing (tm) here, and all you have for them is more snide remarks?"

        The right thing to do would be to fix or remove the entry points malicious software uses to compromise a system. Since I.E. and Active-X are the entry points for the vast majority of malicious programs, and Microsoft has been unable to fix them after many years, the right thing to do would be to remove Active-X and and to remove I.E.'s ability to automatically execute code.
      • Re:Next week's news (Score:3, Informative)

        by nolife (233813)
        You want responsible? How about get to the root of the Spyware problem.

        Provide a control panal app or a button on IE that shows and allows removal of IE BHO's. Take it a step further and only allow BHO's to be installed through that button or CPL. How about a single function or button that shows ALL locations and all programs that are set to start on bootup (even the ones that can hook and hide themselves from showing when using regedit). Not make the users trudge through 20 or so different hidden loca
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I know you're trying to be funny by bashing MSFT, and that's obviously popular on /. and other places, but...

      Your analogy doesn't hold water. Spyware/Adware is a malicious program maliciously written by someone to take advantage of a lack of total, perfect security. A more apt analogy would be holding a truck manufacturer responsible if someone slashes your tires because they manufactured an insecure truck insomuch as they didn't prevent the malicious person from maliciously slashing your tries.

      I'll n
      • by gowen (141411)
        Well, yes, I was going for the cheap laugh (Hey! It's what I do, but...)

        Security holes get left in software by accident, and by sloppiness on behalf of programmers. If that happens, bad things can happen (malware gets in).

        Surgical instruments get left in bodies by accident, and by sloppiness on behalf of doctors and theatre staff. If that happens, bad things happen (bacteria gets in, the contents of your bowel seep into your stomach).

        Now MSFT's programmers aren't to blame for the existence of scumbags

      • I can see it now.

        Microsoft trucks!

        Just look at our huge fluffy tires made of tissue paper...and loaded with flammable hydrogen to make them light and airy...

        A uniguely friendly consumer experience...

        Where do you want to go today on our tires?

      • by bcmm (768152)
        That funny, I was thinking the same thing, only more along the lines of "someone slashes your truck's seats, because the door didn't lock properly and the alarm didn't go off".
    • There is no US patent declared for the personal computer.

      Please nobody tell Microsoft. It might give them ideas.

      ;)

    • by LifesABeach (234436) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @01:21PM (#11690032)
      I tell my kids, "its what you do AFTER you've made the mistake that tells people who you are." As my children get older, it is dawning on them what I mean.

      So I submit this tensor:

      Difference ( Good Guy, Bad Guy ) == The Good Guy can do what the Bad Guy does, but doesn't.
  • by codesurfer (786910) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:21PM (#11689322)
    Does this mean they'll cancel each other out, leaving the user with nothing?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I removed Microsoft's antispyware program because it was creating a log file in the hundreds of megabytes (this was only after one week). I thought there might be a setting to turn off the log -- it really screwed up my disk defrag program because the file has a few thousand pieces scattered over the hard drive -- but I couldn't find anything.

    Anybody know if this is a bug that was fixed, or how to stop it?
  • Gates went on to say, "Much like our Internet Explorer and Outlook Express products, we feel that it is best if we charge for these tools what they are worth."
  • not a 'turnaround' (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dioscaido (541037) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:24PM (#11689355)
    Quite a turnaround from charging extra to free.

    This is not a turnaround; the linked slashdot article simply cried wolf. MS hadn't ever released a statement committing to a pricing-model for MSAS. At most they had said they were investigating the options. Now they have finished their investigation, and the price is $0.
    • MS hadn't ever released a statement committing to a pricing-model for MSAS. At most they had said they were investigating the options. Now they have finished their investigation, and the price is $0.

      It did not require an investigation. Do you think that when Firestone produced a whole run of shitty tires that blew up and killed people that they "investigated" whether they should charge to get them replaced?

      Maybe the law doesn't require Microsoft to warrant their products, but in all ethical and moral s

  • by m2bord (781676) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:24PM (#11689359) Homepage Journal
    common sense. it doesn't matter how many tools joe user has on his pc, if he/she doesn't exercise sound judgement in surfing, no amount of anti-spyware tools will help.
    • Not with IE. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by khasim (1285)
      All it takes is for you to type in the URL incorrectly, one time.

      Microsoft needs to fix IE's security model.

      Instead, they're promising band-aids for removing the crap they allow to be installed in the first place.
  • by blackmonday (607916) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:25PM (#11689362) Homepage
    I think Lavasoft may be in a hard position now. Ad-Aware is also free, but they depend on the paid version to keep them afloat. Now that MS is offering theirs for free, I wonder what Lavasoft will do to stay competitive.

    I hope MS doesn't turn around and start charging once the competition is eliminated.

    • by gregm (61553)
      That's assumming Microsoft keeps up with the trends and maintains a decent solution to the problem. They won't and people will still have to use third-party solutions like Adaware. Just like people use Firefox/Thunderbird and some even pay for Opera.

      G
    • by JPriest (547211) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:32PM (#11689469) Homepage
      Lavasoft has found a new way to make money. Aparrently Ad-Aware no longer removes WhenU spyware. [dslreports.com] I wonder if the kickback from taking bribes will be enough to offset the sales losses created by MSFT's product?
    • I hope MS doesn't turn around and start charging once the competition is eliminated.
      Name a single instance in Microsoft's 'illustrious' career where they did this.

      Outlook Express? Still free.
      IE? free.
      Messenger? Free.
    • by Dausha (546002) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:36PM (#11689505) Homepage
      "I wonder what Lavasoft will do to stay competitive. "

      Perhaps continue to provide a superior product?
    • I hope MS doesn't turn around and start charging once the competition is eliminated.

      Well, if we use IE as an indicator, they won't start charging, they'll just halt development.

      Kidding (mostly). The thing is, it's in Microsoft's best interest to provide security tools to consumers. It seems this may be different from many of their other products, in that it's a utility-- a support for the OS. When a large percentage of Windows users are so infected with spyware that their computers won't work anymore,

  • both the blocking capability, and the scanning and removal capabilities. (will be free)

    What about the updating capability?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:25PM (#11689366)
    The Consumer version will be FREE. Enterprise/Corporate version is NOT. They only let out one side of the story, for PR effect, it worked. You missed the flipside, for Enterprises they will charge.
    • Wouldn't the big organisation be better off donating to things like spybot? (of course you have to rely on the integrity of the maintainers)

      I kind of think that Microsoft would allow affiliates to be added to an invisible white list within their final version.

      Microsoft should be obligated to provide this to everyone free. (which really just means in my opinion they should)

    • by Lxy (80823) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:51PM (#11689664) Journal
      I R'd TFAs, and I don't see any mention of the enterprise. Got a link to back up your claim?

      Considering the wealth of free for home/expensive for enterprise software out there, I wouldn't be surprised, but the articles never mentioned the difference.
  • Duh! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sylver Dragon (445237) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:26PM (#11689373) Journal
    We've looked hard at the nature of this problem, and made a decision that this anti-spyware capability will become something that's available at no additional charge for Windows users
    --Bill Gates


    Yes, its called AdAware [lavasoftusa.com] and SpyBot S&D [safer-networking.org]. Free spyware killing tools on Windows has little to do with MS putting one out for free.

  • Here's my bet: use is free, but then they'll start charging for updates.
  • Want a cookie? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rindeee (530084) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:28PM (#11689407)
    Great. Why is MS making a big toodoo about it. Wait, I'll answer my own question. It's because they had planned to charge for this previously. Still, making a big hoohah over giving away a tool to clean up spyware that infests one of your other products due to very poorly designed security is hardly wise. "Hey...look at me. My product sucks, but I'm giving away duct tape and bailing wire so you can fix'er right up." Brilliant.
  • by beef curtains (792692) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:28PM (#11689410)
    Let's be honest - this is a Good Thing. Hopefully they'll start pushing it as hard & in as widespread a manner as they do MSN Search, etc..

    Actually, how cool would it be if this was rolled out as an automatic update?

    I'm all for any solution that might stem the tide of adware/spyware-filled systems, and the bot-driven-spam & "my computer's broke" complaints that they bring.

    This probably isn't said very often on /., but kudos to Microsoft for not trying to turn consumers upsidedown and shake the change out of their pockets (more so than they currently do, that is).
    • Good for consumers, maybe, but not good for other Anti-spyware packages. Bundling a free anti-spyware tool could be considered anti-competitive.

      Of course, anti-competitive is probably better than the extortion scheme they were planning originally. It's that PoS browser that started the problem in the first place. Why would I want to pay the company that created the problem to remove it? I do agree with you that despite the anti-competitive nature of giving away the product, this is a good move by MS.

      A
  • So it sucks? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gelfling (6534) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:29PM (#11689423) Homepage Journal
    I guess the jury is in. It really doesn't work very well but we can probably leverage it to force people to pay for something else down the road, so let's give it away.
  • I'll pass (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hsmith (818216) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:35PM (#11689493)
    I have been spyware free for the past 6 months since i switched to firefox, which will always be free.

    It may be a good product, but it is no longer necessary for me!
  • On the spam front, Gates said that Microsoft is working with all of the major ISPs on an initiative to positively identify the senders of e-mail. The system will rely on data from the DNS infrastructure to ferret out the true IP address of e-mail senders in an attempt to defeat the address-spoofing that is de rigeur for spammers. Gates said the system may be up and running by this summer.

    Sounds like they plan to have their own White List of ISPs that play nice with M$. I wonder M$ will leverage this new
    • Take off the tin foil hat for a second.

      It sounds like what it's doing is comparing the alleged sending domain against the IP address. If the lookup or reverse lookup fails, it rejects the e-mail as bogus. This would theoretically prevent zombie spam relays.

      Not a bad concept, but I'm sure MS would find a way to screw it up.
  • Seriously, what would people say if Microsoft tried to charge money for their baseline security software? They don't charge money for security patches, nor do other companies I know of. Given the magnitude of the problem of spyware and viruses on Windows, I'd say that they are right up there with basic security holes in needed a fix for free. I'd even bet that lawyers would agree.
  • Being a fine, upstanding company, Microsoft will never change its mind. So, you can be certain that they will never "decide" that their once-free product needs to come at a price.

    I mean, I turned down their "update" for their product because I didn't want to have to pay for it when they decided to.

    Besides, MS security products seem to have a pinchant for being thwarted. I like a 3d party tool to keep MS honest and my computer safe.
  • Let see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jerometremblay (513886) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:44PM (#11689590) Homepage
    BEFORE

    they were evil because they wanted to charge for something everybody using their crappy OS needs.

    AFTER

    they will be evil because they will bundle useful software with their OS killing competing third parties.

    Have another good day on /. Microsoft!
  • by dillon_rinker (17944) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:44PM (#11689592) Homepage
    Judging from Microsoft's behavior, they believe that spyware is bad - so bad, that they are willing to devote large sums of money to produce a product that they will charge $0 for. Why? I would guess it's because spyware can denigrate overall system performance, making it seem that Windows is slow or insecure.

    On the other hand, Microsoft refuses to provide security patches for free. If you haven't paid for a license, they will not provide you with security patches. If spam zombies and worms find their way onto your unsecured system, Microsoft doesn't care. I presume that this is because the spam does not appear to be a problem with Windows.

    But it is. I conclude that Microsoft is not concerned with security, but with the APPEARANCE of security.
  • local brothels will now be offering free penicillin with every night purchased! Come on down, any way it ends up, in a year you will be syphillis free!
  • Well, so far many posts have done a good job in demonstrating a significant level of paranoia, but we can do better. So here are some thoughts... talk amoungst yourselves.
    • Microsoft will allow people to purchase a CD w/ the new anti-spyware product. The CD will be laced with a newly developed and extremely addictive mind control drug.
    • Microsoft releasing anti-spyware software to counteract a leaked internal memo revealing that Bill Gates writes trojan horses in his spare time for kicks and giggles. Bill
  • if this wasn't free? This is something that is necessitated by the software that they have already put out. It is 100% M$ fault that their software yields insecure hardware. It only took them a decade to start moving in the right direction and starting to create 'safe' code.

    I think this is kind of like America in the days prior to WWII. We all kind of wished it would all go away and that if just left things alone nobody would come and bother us. It did not work, and after Pearl Harbor, we awoke to t

  • by krygny (473134) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @12:52PM (#11689672)
    It's too hard to make our products truly secure and it's too easy not to. And we have shitloads of money so we'll buy some anti-malware technology we don't care about, from some company we don't care about ... better yet, we'll buy the company ... and incorporate their dogshit into our dogshit. We'll make it free because nobody would pay for it, and cutoff Semantec's and McAffee's air supply. Not because we need to from any strategic standpoint - just because we can. Just because you can do something, is exactly why you should.

    Now all we need is for somebody to explain to us why we should devote resources toward getting out virus definitions in less than our own sweet time.
  • by mandreiana (591979) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @01:17PM (#11689983) Homepage

    With it's 7.x version, Red Hat is offering free of charge SSH, an application which encrypts communication between two computers enhancing security

    Debian started to include for free a verifier for weak passwords, integrated with "passwd" command.

    Novell/Suse, in order to remain competitive, included a firewall in it's Linux kernel, named iptables. No extra charge.

    In a special offer, ending never, Mandrake included free of charge Tripware, which checks integrity of the most important system files.

    However, none of Linux distributions include a free Spyware or antivirus. Windows is still ahead.
  • by enosys (705759) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @01:24PM (#11690068) Homepage
    Is this a legal risk for Microsoft? They are providing an add-on for their operating systems that prevents certain applications from working properly. Sure, these applications aren't popular but many of them are legal.
  • by BillsPetMonkey (654200) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @01:48PM (#11690399)
    When the program scans, it flags media files and reports them to the MS Anti Spyware community website. Not a problem, but because the program also sends what is known as "basic computer information" including IP address, hardware GUIDs etc, and if it finds

    The.Aviator.FullDVDRip.avi 793MB

    it will autmatically flag it as suspicious and by the same token share that information with "the MS Anti Spyware Community".

    The lesson is, if you use this program TURN OFF THE COMMUNITY UPDATE FACILITY.
  • by haitch (92303) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @02:06PM (#11690636)
    Isn't this just another anti-trust lawsuit in waiting? I'm sure Lavasoft, McAfee, and Symantec will have something to say. Most of us want a more secure windows world (even me, I use OS X) so I can't fault MS for trying to do better, but what are they thinking?

    Clearly there is a thriving market for anti-virus/ anti-spyware software, so MS jumping in with a free product doesn't bode well. If MS had added this product before they they created a market for it, fine. Really what MS should do is remove the market - then it's difficult to complain they are competing unfairly. That would mean producing a more secure OS, which I thought was their top priority [slashdot.org] for over 3 years now.

    I don't mean to bash, the more antispyware the better, I'm just curious... where will this lead?

    H.
  • by Locutus (9039) on Wednesday February 16, 2005 @02:21PM (#11690799)
    What better way to hook almost every MS Windows user right back to microsoft.com? Not to mention, this would probably mean a weekly or even daily fix( as in drug addict ).

    I'll bet that this mechanism will be used for system and application patching too. They already said they were considering a fee based security patching system.

    After all, did Bill say the software AND SERVICE were going to be free? I recall only hearing that the software would be free....

    None of this is good for McAffee or Symantec investors or employees. Nice knowing you.

    LoB

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