Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Microsoft Onecare Released 5/31/06

Microsoft's OneCare service is Microsoft's answer to McAfee and Symantec anti-virus and PC security software. I have not tried it, as I am try not to work with beta software. My gut tells me this, for what it is worth:

The main target of virtually all virus writers is coding errors and security holes in Microsoft's product base. Windows 2000, Windows XP, the Microsoft Office suite, Microsoft Outlook (for email viruses) -- these are all rich targets for hackers and crooks. And, the target has been an easy one. Many, many, many of the holes that are exploited are boneheaded (in my humble opinion) programmer and designer errors. "Buffer overruns" that allow viruses to take over your computer, for example, are errors that grade-school programmers are taught to avoid, and yet they are rampant in Microsoft's code. Code complexity has nothing to do with it -- or maybe it does, in the case of overly-complex code. Regardless, well-designed and well-written code (and, therefore, software applications) do not leave room for hackers to get in.

Now, Microsoft is writing security software designed to save you from people who take advantage of faulty Microsoft code. I don't buy it.

To be fair, OneCare comes with a bundled backup and restore capability, which may be worth the price, but there are other applications that you can use to backup and restore your PC. That is the only service OneCare provides that does not in some way correct an inherent Microsoft problem.

Yes, there are "phishing" emails, trojan horses, and other annoying security problems that are not exploiting Microsoft's flaws, and they are real threats. But MS's product line is a main source of trouble for viruses. You are going to pay money to Microsoft for software that "saves" you from errors of Microsoft's own making. Does this sound like a good idea? Not to me.

So, stick with McAfee. It works.


James P said...

So, what do you think of anti cybercrime pro?