As some of you probably have heard already, Microsoft decided to ship new Windows 8 with built-in anti-virus software. Some people have already applauded Microsoft for finally taking the right decision while other Windows users are rather skeptical about it. Security vendors will have to re-think long term strategies and investments too; especially those companies which rely on anti-virus sales to home users. Microsoft has been making free anti-virus and anti-spyware software available for a couple of years: Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials. Unfortunately, Windows Defender doesn’t compare to a proper security product and Microsoft Security Essentials wasn’t bundled with Windows itself. You had to download it from the official website. There’s a great chance that Windows 8 antivirus will incorporate the functionality of Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender alongside with parental control software and improved firewall.
There are too many poorly protected home computers out there. Out-of-the-box protection against malicious software is definitely a good thing. At least it should be. However, Microsoft Security Essentials isn’t that great and it has a long way to go if Microsoft wants to compete with current security vendors. On the other hand, Microsoft Security Essentials is still better than some free anti-virus software and not so well-known paid ones. So, consumers are happy, security vendors are screaming out load but what about malware authors? If the new antivirus becomes popular they will do anything to make sure that their malcode will slip past Microsoft’s scanner. And here’s the breaking point – if they succeed, people will return to security products they were using before but if Microsoft’s new antivirus will perform as good as Kaspersky, Norton and other well-known antivirus products then things may change dramatically. Besides, Microsoft is probably the only company that can make a difference. Less software bugs, solid anti-virus product and educated users may leave cyber criminals empty handed.