Published on July 21st, 2012 | by Nick1
Windows 8 To Include Built-In Antivirus Software
For the first time, Windows are going to be including a true built-in antivirus with their latest upcoming operating system. Windows 8 will include ‘Windows Defender’ (yes, you have seen that name before with Windows 7, XP and Vista but it will be different this time) built in to the operating system as standard.
It will combine the free Microsoft Security Essentials, which has up until now been offered as a separate download, with the current Windows Defender anti-spyware software. This will give Windows 8 users instant protection against malware on top of parental controls and a firewall the instant they turn on their computer.
Windows 8 Anti-virus to be used as last resort.
However, Microsoft have announced that their built in anti-virus software will only be activated if there is no up-to-date third-party protection installed (such as McAfee, AVG or any other vendor). This means if you install an anti-virus product from any other provider Windows 8 will sense this and automatically switch Windows Defender off. Windows 8 will give users a warning when their current anti-virus software is out-of-date and then provide them with instructions on how they can update or renew the third-party software. After 15 days, it will then re-activate or offer to install Windows Defender.
Many of us thought this was Microsoft’s way of trying to keep third-party vendors happy but it seems that is not the case. McAfee representatives have explained that while it may seem this way it isn’t. Instead it is Microsoft’s way of keeping Windows OEM’s (Original Equipment Manufacturers) pleased. For years now, OEMs have pre-installed antivirus trials, along with many other applications often classed as ‘bloatware’, on the computers so that customers will then pay for a subscription to continue running the software. This makes a large chunk of the OEM’s revenues so Microsoft had to ensure not to risk ruining this with their free solution.
So you’re probably wandering how this will affect you as a consumer.
- Free Antivirus: With Windows Defender you will get free antivirus software right out of the box so no more need to worry about looking for third-party software and running into various subscription fees.
- More protection overall: Anything which gives the overall population more protection is a good thing. Far too many people have no protection software at all installed onto their system and these systems too often end up being used in botnets. This isn’t a good thing for any of us.
- Security monoculture: With so many users having Windows Defender installed far less people will bother to use a third-party vendor. This means much more people will all be using the same antivirus software which is a bad thing. Why? Viruses and malware will probably be created to exploit Windows Defender first. If they succeed then a lot of users are going to be in a lot of trouble.
- Bloatware will still exist: You’d be excused to think that this might stop so many computers from being pre-installed with antivirus software which will then try to get you to purchase a subscription. We’re afraid, with Microsoft’s ‘last resort’ protection, the bloatware will still be there for the foreseeable future.
We certainly welcome Microsoft’s security being built-in with Windows 8 but we do still definitely have some concerns. Whether it will make a big impact on the security world though, we’re yet to decide.