Microsoft to provide free anti-virus software

Microsoft to provide free anti-virus software. I saw this article in the Technology section of the Sydney Morning Herald on 19 June 2009. I read it and my initial thought was “great”. The gist of the article was that a beta version of “Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) will be publicly available for download beginning June 23 in Brazil, Israel and the United States.” It will then be rolled out in other countries later in the year.

Microsoft noted that

Cost and performance barriers prevent many consumers from using up-to-date security software to protect their PCs

The idea with MSE was therefore to provide a regularly updated solution to Malware that was available to all users, not just those with the money to pay for anti-virus upgrades.

I wondered about that sentiment as there are some good free anti-virus services available (AVG comes to mind in particular) but with Microsoft now providing the service for free, will this see an end to the current anti-virus firms.

After thinking about it for a while longer my thought was “crap – MSE will be such a target for the Black Hats when it is released – can any of those folks resist a target like that?”