Live OneCare and Morro

by Andy on November 25th, 2008 in Industry and Security News, Researcher Comments.

You've probably heard the news on Microsofts plan to discontinue its Windows Live OneCare and roll out "Morro", a free anti-malware application.

How do we, in the Lavasoft Research Team, feel about it? From an 'Internet security guy' point of view, anything that encourages users to install, update and run a security application is a huge plus. Anything that contributes to reducing the amount of malware able to compromise vulnerable PCs is, in my opinion, a good thing.

Microsofts press release states that offering a no-cost product will encourage Windows users in emerging markets to deploy an anti-malware product. A lower quantity of vulnerable machines on the Internet makes life harder for the bad guys. Again, a good thing. Reaching people who don't normally use an anti-malware application and having them deploy one makes the Internet safer for us all.

What's the downside? Microsoft's brand towers over everyone. If Microsoft offers a free anti-malware application, the average user may not feel the need to look further afield for an anti-malware application. If a significant percentage of average consumers use Morro as their only line of defense, then the malware writers? first job is to make sure that their malware is not detected by Morro. And, that means a significant percentage of home users could actually be more vulnerable to attack. What's the solution? PC users need to continue to consider the "strength in depth" approach to their PC security in order to stay fully protected.