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MS to Launch Paid Security Subscription Service 359

user24 writes "MSN reports that Microsoft 'is launching a subscription service aimed at providing better protection for the Windows operating system, which has been vulnerable to Internet attacks. Windows Live OneCare will protect up to three computers for about 50 dollars a year.' From the OneCare website: 'Windows Live OneCare works continuously, automatically, and quietly in the background on your PC, ever vigilant against threats but never in the way, allowing you to have fun and be more productive:'"
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MS to Launch Paid Security Subscription Service

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  • by Drinking Bleach ( 975757 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @11:49PM (#15441754)
    Try fixing your operating system first.
  • Obligatory (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrNonchalant ( 767683 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @11:49PM (#15441760)
    They've found the second step!

    1. Build buggy OS full of security holes
    2. Charge 50 dollars a year to fix said bugs
    3. Profit!
  • by Admiral Justin ( 628358 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @11:51PM (#15441766) Homepage Journal
    I gotta commend Microsoft, planning to make money of things that should be integrated into the system so that the threats never happen in the first place.

    Prevention is less profitable than response, thus, they'll never try making a secure system now.
  • Incredible (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abscissa ( 136568 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @11:51PM (#15441769)
    Only in the software industry, folks, can you buy a product and then buy another product to make the first product work. I suppose if you are making a bomb that could apply too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @11:51PM (#15441775)
    ... our new security overlords. Trust us, we're Microsoft.
  • The Microsoft Car (Score:2, Insightful)

    by elwin_windleaf ( 643442 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @11:56PM (#15441812) Homepage
    In other news, the Microsoft automotive line was revealed today. The cars run great when they run (which is occasionally) and come with an optional $50 annual subscription fee that provides seatbelts, a windshield, and doors.
  • by Kahless2k ( 799262 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:02AM (#15441845) Homepage
    The problem is (as proven by Webroots suite against MS about Windows Defender being integrated into Vista) that if they DID integrate it, all the AV vendors (and a number of Slashdotters) would scream ANTITRUST!

    Anyways; how many virus infections are caused by user stupidity and not necesarilly flaws in the OS? As long as users put their computers online and click YES to everything that pops up, there will be people who exploit that.

    Agreed, users running as Admin all the time is not well thought out; But as people have stated before this is somthing that has been going on since before Viruses were a real threat and had to be grandfathered in so as not to break all the users software (also, admittedly lazy programming on the s/w vender's parts). Since MS is changing that model in Vista (if and when it ships), I'd say they're at least working towards a tighter security model.
  • by mincognito ( 839071 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:09AM (#15441875)

    As you can see from the site [] they are offering antivirus, antispyware, firewall, performance tune-ups, and data backup and restore. At least 3 of those are dependant on their windows OS deficiencies.

    It's obvious that they wouldn't be launching this service now if it won't also be needed for Vista. This was basically the last reason i needed to switch over to a Mac.

  • by FlatCatInASlatVat ( 828700 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:09AM (#15441878)
    When auto companies sell defective cars that will injure or kill or even just break down, they are REQUIRED to do a recall and fix them for FREE. When Microsoft sells a completely defective operating system that allows data theft, invasion of privacy, extortion and wholesale hijacking of the internet, at a cost of billions of dollars, they get to charge more money for the fix. The arrogance and irresponsible behavior toward the customer is breathtaking. Why are lawyers not lining up for the class action suits?
  • by notaprguy ( 906128 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:11AM (#15441888) Journal
    Can you say "double standard." If MSFT integrated this stuff into Windows and gave it away for free many people (but not you I'm sure!) would pull their hair out and complain that they're using their monopoly power to edge out competitors. In this case they're doing the right thing - offering a service that many people need and want and charging what (to this one person) seems a petty reasonable price. What's to bitch about?
  • Re:Incredible (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:20AM (#15441927)
    Only in the software industry, folks, can you buy a product and then buy another product to make the first product work. I suppose if you are making a bomb that could apply too.

    Batteries not included.

  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gm a i l . c om> on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:26AM (#15441967)
    Try fixing your operating system first.

    Unfortunately, users can't be patched.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:27AM (#15441970)
    From my understanding, Microsoft owns the Windows OS and I only have a license to use that software.

    Why should I pay to fix their software??

    Now if they want to allow me to become the owner of the software, rather than just a licensed user, then I can see paying for fixes. But I will not pay to fix someone elses software.

    If M$ can get away with this then maybe local stores will start charging customers extra for maintaining a computerized inventory of their goods, after all, that is what they use to make sure they have the products on hand for the customers.
  • Wrong analogy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:36AM (#15442001)
    Microsoft releasing operating systems with inadequate security is not comparable to repair of products that deteriorate through wear and tear (the software equivalent for that is such tools as defragmenters or registry cleaners). It is much more analogous to selling a car with a faulty brake system. Then you buy a separate braking system from another company. The problem with that is that this secondary braking system is not built into the fabric of the car. Thus, it leads to handling problems, will sometimes conflict with the original faulty braking system, and will occasionally even fail to stop the car when needed. The solution is to produce a car that has a properly designed braking system in the first place.
  • by tecker ( 793737 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:47AM (#15442047) Homepage
    I figured out what OneCare is (aside from a really bad name). Take Spybot Imunize function combied with Microsoft Updates packages, add Rebranded Antispyware and Antivirus, and clone in .Mac [].

    If you look at the features most of those come standard with OneCare and the windows equal.
    • "Two Way" Firewall == Windows Firewall
    • Deframent == Disk Deframenter
    • Frees up hard disk space == Disk Cleanup
    • Tracks updates for Windows XP and other Microsoft programs == Microsoft Update

    50$ a year for a Fancy All-In-One gui to your basic windows programs sound like a lot to me. Doesnt even backup to an remote backup server. Sadly Mac suckers (em, users) have been paying for years, Redmond is catching up and getting in on the action.
  • Re:Obligatory (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cyanyde ( 976442 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:50AM (#15442061)
    I think, this isn't the move you all think it seems to be. It appears what this move is designed to do is move into the software as service industry. You lay the ground work with an old beat up OS, release vista to the masses after it's initial 2-3 year pay-for software. Then you just throw it out there, and start charging people for upkeep and all those other things that happen. Microsoft is trying to remove liability from the actual software, to the maintence of something akin to free ware. Thats where the monies at because once they give you the drug, they just have to charge you rent on your house. Plus, it gives them license to keep up the whole DRM schitick, because they'll have the always on connectivity required for this sort of crap, which means they can constantly become the software police of the IP age. So, once again, i think ya'll being a bit near sighted, and I have to be all conspiratorial with my foresight.
  • Re:You know. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @12:55AM (#15442077) Homepage
    Not to be nitpicky and flamebait-ey, but Apple's got holes too, hackers just don't care about them. If it's 50/50 between MS and Apple (yeah, yeah, Linux, I know), you can expect that Macs will be targets too. Something tells me that the [generic mean people] aren't out to prove a point about Microsoft and Apple/*nix, they just go after whatever's easiest. As OSX is Unix-based, I'd imagine finding security holes would be considerably easier should one be looking to do so.
  • by mincognito ( 839071 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:00AM (#15442097)
    Your not honestly going to say that you don't think that antivirus / antispyware is a good thing to have on a machine used by the type of person who will click OK to everything they see?
    The point is, if the OS was secure in the first place, antivirus/antispyware wouldn't be needed.
    A firewall is useful on any system (not just Windows)
    But why should i pay extra when other OSs offer full-fledged firewalls built-in?
    anyone storing data on their machine and NOT doing some kind of data backup (at least for the important data) is crazy
    Yes. But that doesn't explain why sane people should pay $50 a year for onecare.
    As for the performance tune-ups, it really just puts the common tools into one place (defrag, clear temp files, etc)
    According to the site 'permance plus' automatically runs defrag, etc. for the user once a month. Not sure how this improves on a simple "scheduled task" either...

    My original point was that most of what is being offered are dependent on OS deficiencies (i.e. of no value to linux/os x users even if written for those platforms) and the features not dependent on those deficiencies (e.g. automated backup) certainly aren't worth $50 a year.
  • Two Quotes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:01AM (#15442106)

    "There's a sucker born every minute." Widely and falsely attributed to P.T. Barnum.

    "A fool and his money are soon parted." Thomas Tusser.

    MS is apparently hoping that lightning will strike twice in millions of places.

    They've said repeatedly that Vista will be the most secure Windows ever, so why would Vista need any additional security software, from the creator of the OS or a third party? Obviously, the answer is that Vista isn't secure, and MS already knows it. They've even thought of a way to turn Vista's lackluster security into a secondary revenue stream.

    To which the suckers and fools will gladly contribute.

  • Re:Obligatory (Score:3, Insightful)

    by strider44 ( 650833 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:05AM (#15442128)
    "So you want this car? Well it's only $20 000, but we need $10 000 per year to install locks and alarm systems."

    What I want to know is if this perhaps has any guarantee that doesn't include anything along the lines of "it's totally your fault if our security fails. If someone breaks past our security then sorry but you're fucked".

    Perhaps that's too much to ask.
  • Surprise! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by babbling ( 952366 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:23AM (#15442195)
    This may come as a surprise to you, but most viruses exploit flaws in Microsoft software to spread themselves.

    Microsoft's initial product is defective, malicious people take advantage of the defects to create problems for users, Microsoft then charges users to remove the problems that their defective software allowed for in the first place.

    Who you blame for viruses is debatable, but there's no doubt that Microsoft have a conflict of interests problem if they start selling virus scanner software. If they make their OS too secure, eventually they will kill the need for their new virus scanner product.

    The fact that they intend for this service to be used mostly with Windows Vista is proof that they expect Windows Vista to have flaws for viruses to exploit.
  • Re:This is insane! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:25AM (#15442204)
    Back in college, I would have LOVED to have proposed this in a marketing class. While I never took a marketing class...

    If you had taken the class, the instuctor would have pointed you towards the maintaince and service contracts that have been part of the consumer marketplace for over one hundred years. He would have reminded you that Windows has ninety-five percent of the home market and self-service Linux less than three.

  • by Scudsucker ( 17617 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:51AM (#15442310) Homepage Journal
    Unfortunately, users can't be patched.

    Windows is a clusterfuck because of Microsoft's poor coding and design choices, not because of users.
  • Re:Wrong analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gm a i l . c om> on Thursday June 01, 2006 @01:53AM (#15442325)
    User error is a very important source of security problems, but your statement goes way too far.

    No, it doesn't.

    I repeat: anti-spyware and anti-virus software aren't there to protect you against "inadequate security". They *may* do this as a side effect, but it is not their purpose.

    I suspect you have not extensively used Internet Explorer on a user with administrator rights (MS Windows default) to browse the Internet.

    No. Nor would I ever consider doing it.

    If you had, you would have collected spyware without agreeing to install anything.

    Undoubtedly. But this would be due to software bugs (and, arguably, bad UI), not "inadequate security" - not to mention the foolishness of browsing the web with a high-privilege account.

    With Windows XP (original release, no SP 1) just connecting to the Internet from a user with administrator rights, without a firewall, is enough to be infected by worms within a short time.

    As is installing many Linux distros and commercial unixes from the same time period. Again, you are largely describing problems caused by software bugs, not "inadequate security". I will agree that the firewall should have been enabled by default from the first release of XP and that services shouldn't be binding to external network interfaces by default - but even without that, all those remote exploits are coming from *coding errors*.

    OS-level security - which Windows NT has in spades - can protect you against some aspects of malicious code. However, it cannot protect you against all, or even the most common, aspects of malicious code. That is what anti-spyware and anti-virus software is for.

  • Re:Obligatory (Score:2, Insightful)

    by femtoguy ( 751223 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @02:03AM (#15442376)
    Actually, it's worse than that. What Microsoft has managed to do is to convince people that crappy software is the only kind. I am amazed at people's low expectation of computers. I mentioned the other day that I hadn't rebooted my PowerBook for 3 or 4 months, and the person I was talking to didn't believe me. I mean he considered it completely impossible that a computer could function for that long without a major crash. Worse Microsoft has conviced people that the computer, and the internet are the problems. To most people, Microsoft needs a security program, not because they write crappy software, but because the internet is a messy place, and the internet isn't a problem that Microsoft created. A good analogy may come from the auto world. People were quite happy to take their car to dealer every year to get the spark plugs replaced, because that was what you did to take care of cars. It wasn't GM or Ford's fault, it was just that spark plugs wore out. Then Toyota and Honds cam along with cars that could go 100,000 miles on a set of plugs. People realized that they had been duped, and voted with their pocketbooks. What we need is to show everybody we can that OS X and Linux just work better, raise their expectations from where they just assume crap (what an early computer writer called the Laverne and Shirlyification of the computer world) that doesn't work. Of course how to do this is a little tricky.
  • by Cannelloni ( 969195 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @02:08AM (#15442397)
    While it's good that MS is trying to improve the poor security and reliability record of Windows, they shouldn't be allowed to charge for something that should have been fixed more than ten years ago at the system level.

    As a Mac OS X user, I am not troubled by things like that, and I cannot be bothered with Windows, but I would be equally upset if Apple one day decided to CHARGE for security features! But they again, that would not be Apple's style, would it?

    Same with Linux companies. They would never charge you for basic secrity, because a) it is built-in into the OS and b) a move like that would severely hurt the credibitity of the company.

    So, in sum: shame, shame on you, Microsoft. You are a poor excuse for a technology company. You have NO credibility left in this world.

  • by I'm Don Giovanni ( 598558 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @02:20AM (#15442448)
    The point is, if the OS was secure in the first place, antivirus/antispyware wouldn't be needed.

    It's funny that slashdotters like to think of themselves as smarter than everyone else, more "tech-savvy" than everyone else, yet they make such idiotic statements like the above with regularity. And some idiot modded the above statement as "Insightful", further damning slashdot's rep. LOL

    Spyware generally doesn't rely on OS insecurity.
    Viruses generally don't rely on such either.
    Trojan horses almost never rely on OS insecurity.
    For those that do rely on OS insecurity, Microsoft will continue patching OS insecurity for free with Windows Update (just as Apple does for Macs). For malware that doesn't rely on OS insecurity, anti-malware software (such as Microsoft's OneCare offering) exists.
  • by Vo0k ( 760020 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @02:35AM (#15442509) Journal
    Pay us and we will protect you from ourselves?

    Most (all?) antivirus companies have extremely harsh policy against employees writing viruses or other malicious code the software is to protect from.

    What is there to stop Microsoft from putting a bug here, a hole there, purposedly, and "discover" it half a year later just to prove how essential the subscription service is to security of a company?
  • by krunk4ever ( 856261 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @02:53AM (#15442600) Homepage
    so how does the OS distinguish between malware vs non-malware? If the user is dumb enough to click install w/o knowing fully what he/she is doing (about 90% of how all malwares are installed these days), in the end, what you have is a compromised system.
  • by xazos79 ( 931382 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @02:59AM (#15442622)
    Riiiight, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with the OSes you spouted. I'd hate to bring you back to the real world champ... but its more likely that it *is* your app stuffing up rather than windows crashing. I've been writing apps for 6 years for all platforms and not once has my app crashed as a result of windows. If its crashed, its a bug that's escaped testing. Next time, get off your high horse because those of us down here can't hear you.
  • IBM does it better (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @03:20AM (#15442691) Journal
    1. Build an OS that's so hard to use only geeks can use it
    2. Charge 50.000 dollars for documentation/support
    3. Profit!

    Love those mainframes.

  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@gm a i l . c om> on Thursday June 01, 2006 @03:30AM (#15442727)
    Windows is a clusterfuck because of Microsoft's poor coding and design choices, not because of users.

    Then how can it be possible to run a problem-free Windows installation simply by following a handful of common-sense pointers ?

  • Re:Wrong analogy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @03:57AM (#15442824) Homepage Journal
    Again, you are largely describing problems caused by software bugs, not "inadequate security".

    You make a differentiation without merit, except for pure academic theory maybe.

    Most security problems are software bugs. The fact that it is very hard to write bug-free software with current tools, technology and methods is one of the main headaches of the security people. I am one. Buggy software and users are what I am most worried about, in this order. False policies, configurations and errors in concepts and methods come way after those.
  • by Mistshadow2k4 ( 748958 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @05:18AM (#15443041) Journal

    [sarcasm] Oh, yeah, right it's ALL the user's fault. And *nix allows remote users to make changes to your system without your knowledge or permission whenever you're online too. And let's not forget that ton of Unix viruses that have made the internet nearly impossible to use because all the servers keep failing. And of course, *nix also requires a whole bunch of third-party software to secure it as well. Oh, and all OSes have browsers with Active X![/sarcasm]

    Yes, a lot of users are stupid. But if the vulnerabilities weren't there in the first place there would be far fewer problems. If Windows was as secure as OS X -- and sorry, Apple fans, it's not as secure as some other *nix distros -- a virus would be a rare thing simply because it wouldn't have anything to work with. So, yeah, if they fixed it that would eliminate most viruses right there. Despite the stereotypes many would have you believe, there are a lot of Mac users who are just as clueless as the Windows user you're describing, but their systems haven't been compromised because the OS they're using isn't horribly insecure to begin with.

    How to secure Windows by yours truly (hope this makes sense; I haven't had much coffee yet):
    1. Firewall! Better still firewall + hardware router.
    2. Anti-virus. I recommend Avast! for 2k and XP, AVG for 9x. If you want to pay for anti-virus, I've heard NOD32 is the best, with Kaspersky's coming in a close second.
    3. Win Patrol [] prevents many changes fromt aking place without your permission; just scroll down the page for the link to download the free version.
    4. If you're using Xp, get xpy [] which can disable a whole lot of Windows problems, such as the remote regsitry severice which allows remote users to change your registry whenever you're online -- yes, MS made it that on purpose and isn't going to fix it -- and Active X, Windows' most infamous security hole. You need to know what you're doing with this program though; if you don't, get someone who does to help you.
    5. Be careful. Research *everything* you'd like to install. Check the program's ratings at download sites and do a search on the program's name with a good search engine.

    Personally, though, I tend to think Winsdows is hopeless. Patches aren't enough, the system needs to be built from the ground up with much higher security. That means a lot of programs wouldn't even work after that. And would MS provide this as a free fix to all of their customers? Ha!

    But speculation is useless. Microsoft is never going to try to really fix Windows; as successful as they've been already, why should they? Especially not when they can make money selling services to protect Windows! Never mind that they should've built a secure OS in the first place like practically everyone else did.

  • Re:Obligatory (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shippo ( 166521 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @05:55AM (#15443115)
    It's Slashdot - EVERY analogy is a bad analogy!
  • by tajgenie ( 932485 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @06:55AM (#15443268)
    Though it can't be denied that these problems exist predominantly on windows and not on OSX, I agree that users are much the reason. I have no AV enabled, no firewall, no security or automatic updates or whatever enabled (though I have it installed in case). I have not gotten a virus or a single piece of adware in over 2 years (except once when I connected to my school network with the firewall disabled, which I never did again). Now I've left my computer alone for 10 minutes while I went to get cookies from across the house (no the house is not large; the cookies were numerous). I come back and my brother is using my computer, which is fine, except I have spyware all of a sudden. True story. Since the vulnerability is there, it *requires* that the user be able to defeat it, which sadly no one is capable of doing. Most users have a hell of a time recognizing that they are being attacked by adware and spyware; about as hard of a time an autistic might have determining facial expressions.
  • by ElleyKitten ( 715519 ) <kittensunrise@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday June 01, 2006 @10:09AM (#15444419) Journal
    Time to be bitchslapped back to reality. Linux is not ready for the masses just because you can use it.

    It's a lot closer than you imagine. My friend uses Linux (Mepis, specifically) and I don't think she even knows what the command line is. And no, I didn't spend hours configuring it for her, she installed it herself and didn't need to do any configuring because it automatically recognized her hardware and came with mp3, DVD, etc support. My mom used my Linux box and is jealous because all the silly puzzle games she buys for $20 a piece are available for free with Ubuntu. I'd give her Linux, but her computer is used for telecommuting with her job, so I really can't.

    Linux is great for home use and is getting better all the time. It's problem is that people don't know that. However, and more and more users get fed up with viruses and Windows and whatever, they will take the time to find out.
  • Re:Obligatory (Score:2, Insightful)

    by operagost ( 62405 ) on Thursday June 01, 2006 @10:29AM (#15444627) Homepage Journal
    Nice jab at American automakers, Michael Moore, but the Japanese didn't invent long-life spark plugs. Electronic ignition and computers did a lot towards extending life. My 1976 Ford LTD had no computer-- just an electronic ignition module-- and I didn't have to change the spark plugs every year even though I usually put over 15,000 miles on it in that amount of time. But you basically have to use platinum plugs to get over 30K. That's not a Japanese thing-- it's the spark plug manufacturers, and while Ford and GM have their own house brands, you have big boys like Bosch and Champion who make that stuff for any car.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"