Word has been leaking like a sieve around the web that Microsoft is going to be soon releasing its own free anti-virus software codenamed, for now, Morro. The software is apparently being tested extensively in-house and is expected to be released soon as a "trial release". The company has though qualified that it will be available by the end of 2009 – at the very latest.
The folks over at Neowin though have been lucky enough to have some screen shots of the program in action and wasted no time in posting them, one of which I have posted below.
As you can see it's a pretty simple front-end for what is supposed to be based off of their Forefront Anti-Virus engine which is used in enterprise environments.
According to the post at Neowin the folks at Symantec aren't overly concerned about Microsoft's entry as they look at it as a stripped down AV program that will have no effect on full blown security program. They go on to say
According to Janice Chaffin, president of Symantec's Consumer Division, "Microsoft's free product is basically a stripped down version of the OneCare product Microsoft pulled from the shelves. A full Internet security suite is what consumers require today to stay fully protected."
Now this is where I have to step up and point out just how full of shit this kind of talk is. Simply put, in the 20 plus years I have been using computers I can count on one hand with a couple of fingers missing exactly how many times I've gotten hit by a virus. It's called being smart, rather than a sucker for expensive Internet Security programs that for the most part do a lousy job. think not then just check the certified AV testing sites to see for yourself
Granted the computing landscape has gotten more dangerous and where I once might have said just being smart about what you were doing was enough I will now say you need some protection. However much of the protection you are being offered today is expensive subscription based software that does more to bog down your machines than save them from your own stupidity.
I've lost count of the number of machines I worked on back when I was doing more technical based stuff that had out of date AV software running, or had the AV software turned off. It wouldn't have mattered if these people had been using the most expensive software on the market or the free editions, they would still have gotten infected because of their own stupidity.
As well you can run the best free or pay AV software you want but none of it beats common sense. If you don't surf, deal with emails or download files knowing that there are dangers and using your head about it all then you deserve exactly what you get.