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McAfee, Symantec Think Vista Unfair 424

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the get-in-line dept.
davidwr writes "Is Microsoft unfairly locking anti-virus companies out of Vista? Symantec and McAfee seem to think so and they aren't being very quiet about it, placing a full-page ad in the Financial Times. If you've found the ad online, please post a link."
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McAfee, Symantec Think Vista Unfair

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:54PM (#16278821)
    I will be thankfull if i never see another home user product from either company. So far im please with windows defender, if a windows ant-virus is similar i would be happy. After working a number of years on a workbench fighting with the awful software those two companies shit out to the home user. I can say that I welcome our new OS bundled anti-virus overlords.

    Too complex for consumers, too bloated for computers, too un-reliable to be usefull. I prefer Avast! for my customers, and not just because it's free.
  • by PoconoPCDoctor (912001) <jpclyons@gmail.com> on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:03PM (#16278985) Homepage Journal

    Trend Micro is the only (AFAIK) vendor that is certified to produce an anti-virus product for Vista. [trendbeta.com] Are they being given the keys to the castle while McAfee and Symantec are left out in the cold?

    Anyone know why this is so? Do tell!

  • by Nanite (220404) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:05PM (#16279007)
    Personally, I wouldn't care if both Mcafee and Symantec went bankrupt tomorrow. Both feature bloated, buggy software, and symantec's sales pressure to 'Upgrade' to newer buggier software rather than renewal of the old software is just disgusting. Granted, I don't know if MS could do a better job, given their abysmal track record on security and virus prevention. They love to just leave the barndoor open for stuff like that. But they may be able to produce a spyware/virus solutions that works better within their systems, better than the monkeys at Mcafee and Symantec anyways.

  • by drdanny_orig (585847) * on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:15PM (#16279201)
    This wouldn't have been a problem now if the DoJ had broken MS up into smaller units back when it had the chance. MS/OS division would have no incentive to favor MS/AV over any other.
  • by Howserx (955320) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:22PM (#16279339)
    Not going to happen but I'd love to see the 3rd party AV companies say "Alright then suit yourself" and close up shop. Leave MS to handle AV by itself. It's already been demonstrated how easy it is to bypass the new "security" that is making life hard for symantec et al(no link, I'm lazy). It'd be interesting to see the ramifacations of such an action. I know I'd be surfing using a Live CD with no drives mounted (normally an XP/2000/server 2003 user I guess I'll get what I paid for!) . I also know I'd sleep better knowing I'd never have to fix a screwed up windows installation because of a McAffee/Norton glitch(rnav is your friend).
  • by adamdrayer (1006631) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:22PM (#16279341)
    There is nothing wrong with signature-based virus protection. It is very difficult to design systems that can pre-emptively determine good code from bad. Heuristics has a place in security, but its not as accurdate, IMHO, and contending with flase positives would be more annoying to home users than paying the nominal fee. For corporations, you have IDS/IPS systems, and they are trying to develop this for the desktop (Host-base IPS or HIPS), but confuring them properly can be extremely difficult, and allows for more user error, which can negative the entire effect.

    And striping drives won't help fight off malware, that's for redundancy and performance. And frequent ghosts aren't the answer either. I would recommend users backup data and not installations or partitions. You can be backing up an already corrupt/infected system.

    It amazes me how little people are willing to pay for their computer. Its easily a gigantic part of many people's lives, however, they'd rather spend more on their dishware and drapes than they would on the thing that they use to do just about everything including personal banking.

    Mcaffee and Symantec are important to the security industry, and help drive it. MS would be stupid to squeeze them out. Every computer should have a reputable company's security software installed or their ISP shouldn't allow them on the internet. Kinda like how cars need to be insured. The thing is, however, they should have the choice of what security company they trust.
  • by TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:33PM (#16279531) Homepage

    I agree with parent. Have we REALLY forgotten our IE/Netscape history so quickly? Microsoft is following their exact same vendor lock-in strategy now as they did then. Integrate the new product with the old and to make matters worse they're doing that instead of 'fixing' the original product (namely windows).

    I'll be the first to say that XP was a huge improvement and that worm-spread was much reduced. I'll also say that I'm a developer myself and I understand that saying 'write it securely' is a hell of a lot easier than actually doing it. So, lets give MS the benefit of the doubt and presume that they're writing their OS even more securely than before. What are we left with, then? A very expensive to write program integrated with the OS for free. I'll again point out my parallel with IE, which was also a very expensive to write program integrated with the OS for free.

    Now maybe I'm mistaken in my understanding that the anti-virus software is part of the default installation and if it is, my argument is admittedly all shot to hell and that Symantec and McAfee are big cry-babies. Given Microsoft's history, however, I doubt it.

  • by Gastrobot (998966) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:37PM (#16279605)
    IANAM (I am not a mathematician) but I once attended a lecture where the speaker was an expert on Kurt Gödel. He claimed that Gödel's incompleteness theorem can be applied to prove that one cannot make perfect antivirus software. Either it will be too strong (imagine labeling everything a virus) or it will not be strong enough. If, therefore, Microsoft can't prove that their security is perfect then one might argue that competitors should be allowed their crack at it. I say security in a reasonable OS can't be perfect because they could obviously make it secure by removing internet support and so on, but that wouldn't be reasonable. It is my understanding that Microsoft feels allowing competitors to override their security system would pose a security risk itself. If that's the case then there are merits to both points of view to debate, but at the end of the day I believe that this would just strengthen Microsoft's monopoly.
  • by Markusis (46739) * on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:03PM (#16280157) Homepage Journal
    <snip>
    I really hate this popular Slashdot myth that viruses only exist because OSes are designed improperly. No, wrong. ... There isn't an OS level defense for this short of an Orwellian trusted computing scheme. If I sent you a version of Apache with malicious code in it and you installed it as root, I could do whatever I wanted. Doesn't matter how secure your OS is, you gave it the permissions it needs.
    </snip>

    This is why SELinux [nsa.gov] and App Armor [novell.com] exist. With a proper SELinux or App Armor setup you could install Apache as root and all it will be allowed to do is what Apache does normally. So, it would only be allowed to read the /etc/httpd directory and the /var/www directory. It would only be able to write to the /var/log/httpd directory and listen on port 80 and 443. So, this could prevent an exploit in Apache from taking over the rest of your system.

    Admittedly this example wouldn't help a desktop user. But, there is no reason why SELinux or App Armor couldn't help a desktop user. One example would be if Firefox was locked down to only allow downloads to the ~/Downloads directory or something like that. Now any hole in firefox would only be able to damage your ~/Downloads directory and presumably your firefox cache directory or something. It wouldn't be able to delete ~/Pictures and ~/Music. The browser example is kind of complicated because it has so many tasks these days. But, the point is that you can prevent a lot of problems by employing some kind of mandatory access control system.

    Oh, and it really isn't that hard to use one of these systems either. Yeah, they can be pretty nasty if you really get into it (especially SELinux). But, for a desktop user there really isn't anything to worry about. I use Fedora Core 5 at work and at home and I've kept SELinux enabled on both systems. App Armor is really nice to use for the purposes of locking down a server system in this way. SELinux is more generic but it is much more complex than App Armor.
  • Symantec bitches... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jb.hl.com (782137) <joe@nOSPAm.joe-baldwin.net> on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:33PM (#16280787) Homepage Journal
    ...and Trend Micro has no problems converting their AV suite over to the Vista model. Hmmmm.

    Symantec and McAfee are only bitching because their shitty, shitty, shitty products are heavily tied into the old system by way of layer upon layer of cruft, which they don't particularly want to dig through. If Trend can do it, so can they; they just don't want to.
  • by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday October 03, 2006 @11:45AM (#16292499) Homepage Journal
    I don't think it's a bad thing that Microsoft has made it impractical to charge for a web browser. How is it a bad thing if they make it impractical to charge for anti-virus software?

    Good point. And we might generalize it a bit. We often read here that old canard "You get what you pay for". With software, not only is this not generally true; what's more common is that with software, price and quality are typically inversely related.

    Microsoft is merely doing its part to maintain this situation. They do it in a somewhat subtle way: They pretend that much of it is free, but you do in fact pay for IE and for MS's anti-virus software, as part of the price for their entire "system". You get crappy, poorly-functioning software, of course, in agreement with the price-quality rule. If you want quality, you have to download and install either shareware or free software.

    Actually, there is somewhat of a parallel for this outside of computers. It's well known that, if you want quality audio or video equipment, you don't buy the all-in-one "systems". Those are simple purchases, and the components do work together (and are typically integrated into one box so that they appear to be a single product). But to get quality, you have to buy individual components, and interconnect them yourself. This takes time for study and wiring, but the end result will be much better quality.

    Microsoft systems are like this. They sell as a "system", but the overall quality is low, especially since the components generally don't inter-operate nearly as well as advertised. Like A/V equipment, if you want quality, you'll just have to spend the time to install the quality components yourself.

    The difference is that, with quality A/V equipment, the good stuff usually costs more than the crappy "integrated system" box. With software, the good stuff is usually a lot cheaper than the integrated junk. And when you look at all the hair-pulling and time-wasting futzing you've gotta do with MS software, the "component" software is often easier to get running right. So with both price and time, the quality stuff is cheaper than an all-in-one "system".

    But with software, nobody much knows how to make things interoperate well.

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre

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