Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2017 - 12:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: microsoft, windows defender, antivirus, Kaspersky
You have likely heard of the spat between Kaspersky Labs and Microsoft, in which Kaspersky have filed a complaint with the European Commission stating that Microsoft is purposely disabling their antivirus program. Microsoft replied with their view of this dispute, stating that they do indeed disable antivirus programs when there is a risk that a Windows update would stop the third party antivirus from running anyways. The Inquirer and others were told that as a service to the user they ensure that Windows Defender is activated and on the job to protect them.
Many of us have had issues in which an update causes an antivirus program to lobotomize a valued program or operating system because of false positives, often leading to an eternal reboot loop until you can find the offending update or program. This leads to a question of expectations; is it reasonable that Microsoft test the compatibility of their OS with antivirus vendors, either internally or by releasing an early version those vendors can test? We are likely to see a court case to determine that in the near future, the EC previously ruled against Microsoft in 2004 regarding Windows Media Player as well as in 2009 regarding Internet Explorer (pdf) so we may indeed see another ruling which forces Microsoft to allow users to disable Windows Defender.
"The post goes on to admit that, yes, it does deactivate third party AV, if there is a risk of an update to Windows that stops the AV working anyway."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- New Humble Software Bundle, Artistic Edition
- WDC wants in on Japan-backed consortium to buy Toshiba's chip biz @ The Register
- HoloLens dev transforms Super Mario Bros into AR game @ The Inquirer
- Curiosity Rover Decides, By Itself, What To Investigate On Mars @ Slashdot
- Walmart tells developers to stay away from AWS @ The Register
- The nubia M2, M2 Lite & N1 Lite Smartphones Revealed! @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech | March 9, 2017 - 12:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Kaspersky, antivirus, security, Threat de Toilette
If you are not aware of the story of John McAfee, who created the popular antivirus software before leaving to live a far more interesting life you should read up on it. Those who work in online and information security will have some sympathy for his decision as the job is rather thankless and not exactly something you can effectively use as a topic of conversation at a party. Kaspersky Labs may now be showing signs of distress after launching their new perfume line, Threat de Toilette. Yes, perfume.
There is a method to their madness if you read past the first few paragraphs on The Register. The perfume line is being advertised by fashion bloggers, who have reason to want their online information to be secure as it is the source of their livelihood and who have an audience which is not particularly knowledgeable about keeping themselves safe online. It is an intriguing way to try to spread the word about online security; here's hoping it helps at least a few people.
"The thing is, while Kaspersky is possibly talking crap about the perfume, it does manage to squeeze in a lot of good advice about security and the personal protection of it. Why it would send this to us is another mystery."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- IBM Researchers Prove It Is Possible To Store Data In a Single Atom @ Slashdot
- Microsoft: Can't wait for ARM to power MOST of our cloud data centers! Take that, Intel! Ha! Ha! @ The Register
- Apache Struts 2 needs patching, without delay. It's under attack now @ The Register
- Microsoft is adding 'adverts' for OneDrive in Windows 10's File Explorer @ The Inquirer
- Video intercom firm Doorbird wants $80 for device password resets @ The Register
- The 32-Core AMD Naples CPU Tech Report @ TechARP
- Uber Admits Its Ghost Driver 'Greyball' Tool Was Used To Thwart Regulators, Vows To Stop @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2016 - 01:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mcafee, Intel, antivirus
In a strange turn of events it seems that McAfee has risen once again to appear on the marketplace in a move reminiscent of a certain Uncle Duke story line. Intel has sold their majority stake, worth $3.1bn in cash, to a private equity firm called TPG. Intel retains 49% of the shares, not quite breaking even on the purchase they made back in 2010 but having seen solid profits from that business while they were running it. TPG has now renamed itself McAfee and Chris Young, the general manager of Intel Security will be a part of the new team. Pop by The Register for more on the antivirus company that just keeps coming back, but there is no word as of yet from the company's namesake.
"Intel is selling off a majority stake in its security software arm – formerly known as McAfee – to private equity firm TPG, which will rename itself to, er, McAfee."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Nexmon Turns Nexus 5 (and RPi3!) Into WiFi Toolkit @ Hack a Day
- Microsoft To Launch At Least One Surface All-In-One PC Next Month @ Slashdot
- The honor 8 Smartphone With Aurora Glass Revealed @ Tech ARP
- iPhone what? Raspberry Pi has shipped 10 million computers @ The Inquirer
- Samsung lowering foundry quotes to vie for orders @ DigiTimes
- Scientists' sneaky smartphone software steals 3D printer designs @ The Register
- Intel Basis fans burned again: Refund checks for scalding smartwatches bounce @ The Register
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 22, 2013 - 01:53 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: antivirus, antimalware
They might be a good means of guarding you from momentary lapses of judgment, but security is not equivalent to antivirus packages. You always need to consider how much your system is exposed to untrusted and even unsolicited data. Any software which accepts untrusted data has some surface with potential vulnerability to attack.
This, inherently, includes software which accepts data to scan it for malware.
Last week was host to Patch Tuesday, and one of its many updates fixed a vulnerability in Microsoft's Malware Protection Engine (MPE). The affected code is only present in applications which run the 64-bit version of the engine. For home users, these applications are: Microsoft Security Essentials (x86-64), Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool (x86-64), and all varieties of Windows Defender (x86-64). For enterprise users, MPE is also a part of Forefront and Endpoint applications and suites.
Despite the irony, I will not beat up on Microsoft. As far as I know, these vulnerabilities are semi-frequently patched in basically any antimalware application. At the very least, Microsoft declares and remedies problems with reasonable and appropriate policies; they could have just as easily buried this fix and pushed it out silently or worse, wait until it becomes actively exploited in the wild and even beyond.
But, and I realize I am repeating myself at this point, the biggest takeaway from this news: you cannot let the mere presence of antivirus suites permit you to be complacent. No scanner will detect everything, and some might even be the way in.
Subject: General Tech | March 17, 2012 - 02:01 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: opswat, software, mse, antivirus
OPSWAT, a company founded in 2002, has released it's latest quartlerly report on software market share. The new report indicates that as of March 2012, the free Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus application has made the biggest gains in users this year.
Microsoft Security Essentials is a free antivirus program developed by Microsoft that has been on the market for just over 2 years (since September 2009). Despite not having the best detection rates, it is a program that is non-intrusive and lightweight on resources. Because of the automatic updating (via Windows Update) and being essentially "set it and forget it," it has garnered quite the following from tech enthusiasts that use it on their computers along with a bit of common sense browsing to stay safe. In addition, it makes for a good choice for family members as it is easy to install and requires little maintenance along with not costing any money. Also, If you have a friend or relative that refuses to pay for AV yet also refuses to stop visiting certain areas of the web, having some kind of free antivirus is better than nothing!
Specifically, the Microsoft software has managed to snag 10.08% of the worldwide antivirus market, putting it under the three big A's of antivirus: Avast with 16.26%, Avira with 11.65%, and AVG Technologies with 10.96%. Close behind Microsoft is ESET antivirus with 10.06%. Microsoft has increased their worldwide market share to 10.08% from 7.27% a year ago. They are further ahead of Symantec who holds 9.97% of the market.
|Trend Micro, Incorporated||2.22%|
In terms of the North American market, Symantec actually pulls ahead of Microsoft, and holds the number one position at 16.09%. Microsoft then holds the second position in North American market share with 14.92%. The MS software saw big gains from last year, moving from fourth position to second position and 9.94% to 14.92% respectively. AVG holds third place at 13.22% while Avast has 11.96% of the North American market and fourth place. You can see the remaining top 10 vendors' market share in North America below.
|Trend Micro Incorporated||3.10%|
Drilling down beyond vendor market share to the specific programs' market share Microsoft Security Essentials holds 14.58% of the North American market as of March 2012. Also, MSE holds 9.96% of the worldwide market in March 2012. In terms of ranking, the individual software that is MSE is is number one in North America and second place worldwide. Microsoft Security Essentials holds 14.58% in North America and 9.96% globally, putting it just under AVAST! Free Antivirus which is the number one AV product worldwide with 11.91% of the market. These numbers are a bit more telling, as they indicate Microsoft is doing pretty darn well with their AV program, and it is really helping them (market share wise) to have just one main SKU/program in their lineup.
Interestingly, their report indicates that the top 10 antivirus makers hold the great majority of the market with 87.46% of worldwide market share. Of the top 10 (listed in chart 1) global AV vendors, only Trend Micro is a new addition at number 10 thanks to overtaking PC Tools with a total of 2.22% market share. The top 10 has further gained more of the total market compared to last year. In 2010, the top 10 vendors held 86.57% of the market, and they now hold 87.46%. Individual product wise, the top 10 companies' applications hold 64.94% of the worldwide market and 63.08% of the North American Market (this is for specific programs only, while the previous total numbers are for top 10 AV companies as a whole).
Further, OPSWAT states that the free offerings continue to dominate the charts with the most number of installations and market share. In North America, they identified 81 antivirus companies and 257 antivirus software applications. Globally OPSWAT detected 87 vendors and different programs. That makes the fact that the top 10 vendors hold approximately 87% of the market even more impressive. More information on the recent OPSWAT report is availabe in the PDF format here.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 21, 2012 - 01:21 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: antivirus, windows 8
Imagine if it were illegal for a dominant homebuilder to sell a house with locks on the door to be fair to the market of locksmiths?
The legality of Microsoft’s planned upgrades to its Windows Defender security suite has been questioned in an article up at ZDNet Asia. While the article itself is very correct in its analysis of the situation it does implicitly ask at what point a market should be obsolete.
Does it really protect consumers to intentionally unbundle security from a core application? Is it better to unbundle security to promote an industry worth of companies with products designed to successfully do little more than alert you when a breach has occurred?
Industry status - Not Protected
Despite the wording of the above three paragraphs, the answer actually is not simple. There is a lot of merit to disallowing the bundling of internal security applications and protect the antivirus industry.
Ponder this, what if Microsoft’s system was really bad? Would promoting competition ultimately drive for a stronger and more secure product in the end? Or alternatively, would the pressure from the attackers themselves be sufficient competition to not need to protect antivirus companies?
It really is an interesting problem when you look into it. What do you think? The comments await, and registration is not required to voice your opinion.
Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2011 - 05:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mse, Malware, antivirus
One of the major drawbacks of having general purpose computation devices is malware. Your computers are designed to manipulate and store instructions and information and they do that amazingly. Your computers, however, cannot tell who gave what instruction; they follow a set of instructions until it links to another, which they follow, ad infinitum. When someone who wants to use your computer can get their series of instructions run by your computer: that is when you got a problem.