Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg: Free Microsoft program to battle spyware has serious flaws

“Microsoft, whose Windows operating system has been plagued by viruses, spyware and other security problems in recent years, last week began rolling out some free software to help users cope with those threats. The software giant introduced a ‘beta,’ or preliminary, version of a free product designed to block, detect and remove spyware. A free antivirus program is planned for later release,” Walt Mossberg reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Unfortunately, the company’s first free security program has some serious flaws and lapses. I’ve been testing Microsoft’s antispyware software, called simply Microsoft AntiSpyware, and I can’t recommend it, in its present form, over the leading third-party antispyware program I have favored, Webroot’s Spy Sweeper,” Mossberg reports.

“Microsoft AntiSpyware does nothing at all to protect users of the rival Firefox Web browser from home- and search-page hijacking. It detects and corrects such hijacking only in its own Internet Explorer Web browser. The company says it is trying to focus on things that affect “the largest number of customers,” and it notes that the vast majority of users rely on IE. But this… smacks of favoritism toward Microsoft products… It’s good that Microsoft is finally offering users tools to protect their Windows computers. But it’s going to have to do much better, and it’s going to have to avoid the perception that it’s using security as a tool to promote or favor its own products,” Mossberg reports.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Was there some secret deal between the United States DOJ and Microsoft to resolve the anti trust case that stipulated that Microsoft would do absolutely nothing or just generally screw up for a specified period of time until competitors could balance things out a bit? Or is Microsoft just slowly collapsing from its own weight right before our eyes? Are you a Windows-only user? Get a Mac, it’s much better. More info on how to add a safe, secure, powerful, and fun Mac OS X machine to your computing arsenal here.

MacDailyNews Note: Walt Mossberg is the author and creator of the weekly Personal Technology column in The Wall Street Journal, which has appeared every Thursday since 1991. Newsweek magazine calls Mr. Mossberg “the most powerful arbiter of consumer tastes in the computer world today.” Time magazine calls him “the most influential computer journalist.” And Rolling Stone calls him “the most powerful columnist in technology.” The Washington Post declared Mr. Mossberg “one of the most powerful men in the high-tech world” and “a one-man media empire whose prose can launch a new product.” And the New York Times calls him a “protean critic of the new economy’s tools and toys.” Mr. Mossberg was awarded the 1999 Loeb award for Commentary, the only technology writer to be so honored. For seven years in a row, 1995-2001, he was named as the most influential journalist writing about computers, in the annual ranking published by Technology Marketing magazine.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Microsoft’s ‘free’ protection scheme debuts in attempt to whack Windows malware – January 07, 2005

28 Comments

  1. re MDN’s: “MacDailyNews Take: Was there some secret deal between the United States DOJ and Microsoft to resolve the anti trust case that stipulated that Microsoft would do absolutely nothing or just generally screw up for a specified period of time until competitors could balance things out a bit?”

    What an awesome explanation. I’d assumed that the deal involved DOJ laying off Microsoft in return for campaign contributions to Republicans. But my thinking is just so very cynical and depressing. Even though my explanation is probably more accurate, MDN’s is more fun. Much appreciated.

  2. If I were Bill, I’d sell my shares and disappear. Close the doors in Redmond and move on to a life of leisure. At some point, don’t you think that guilt will have some effect on him? Maybe that’s why he gives so much to charity?

  3. ndelc,

    [At some point, don’t you think that guilt will have some effect on him?]

    No. But, he does bring to mind that ‘Gowan’ song, ‘Criminal Mind’ ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    Tommy Boy,

    Thanx, I’ll be snickering at that all week!

    ‘Window’ is my magic word. Hee hee!

  4. Holy Moly! And I recommened someone get it to try to fix their about:blank spyware problem. It was so weak, that the second she tried to install the MS product, about:blank went nuts and shut down the install.

    Yeah, MS, you guys are on top of it.

    Now, what did I do with my shotgun. My PC has sufffered enough…

  5. Was there some secret deal between the United States DOJ and Microsoft to resolve the anti trust case…?

    Yes there was, Microsoft has provided the US intelligence community with the best intelligence coup of the last 20+ years.

    M$ wishes to continue this trend by controling all spyware that’s not it’s own.

    I know of two instances where the US Military black ops have hacked local buisnesses computers running M$ Windows to check on spy equipment inventories before the invasion of Grenada.

    I speak no lies.

  6. So let me get this straight.

    Microsoft creates a crappy product so riddled with flaws and bloat that an entire industry of hackers is created.

    And they reward themselves by making money selling programs to protect people because of their flawed product?

    Do they have absolutely no morals or sense of right or wrong?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.