Why Microsoft should push Security Essentials to freeloaders

Why Microsoft should push Security Essentials to freeloaders

Summary: Microsoft is continually looking for new ways to 'encourage' Windows freeloaders to pay up and go legal, but limiting Microsoft Security Essentials to a 30-day trial is a bad move.

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Microsoft is continually looking for new ways to 'encourage' Windows freeloaders to pay up and go legal, but limiting Microsoft  Security Essentials to a 30-day trial is a bad move.

Winrumors has the details on the new Microsoft Security Essentials update:

The latest update, 2.0.552, has been released to beta testers via Windows Update. The latest beta introduces several enhancements including context menu scanning, heuristic scanning, remove quarantined files after a certain date and the ability to enable a network inspection system to protect against network-based exploits.

Microsoft has also introduced protection mechanisms against the latest Windows 7 activation bypass hacks. A Winrumors reader contacted us to explain that the latest update now bypasses some of the latest techniques that pirates use to avoid purchasing Windows 7. Activation by-passers will be greeted with a warning message stating “Windows did not pass genuine validation.” Users will have to resolve the issue by running a new validation check. If this is not resolve after 30 days the product will be disabled.  The beta, distributed by Windows Update is currently in public beta and is expected to be released in early 2011.

So two things are going on here. First, Microsoft is using the Security Essentials package to 'out' freeloading Windows pirates. Secondly, Microsoft is limiting access to security software to the sorts of people who really need it (people who download and install cracks and so on), which in turn opens up the rest of us to increased hack attacks and spam.

I don't like this. While I support Microsoft in its commitment to give people running 'genuine' Windows rewards in the form of free software, I feel that limiting access to security software is both counterproductive and unhelpful. Having as many systems as possible, both genuine and bootleg, running security software is good not only for the individuals involved, but for the entire Windows ecosystem.

[UPDATE: This in from a Microsoft spokesperson:

Real time protection like that found in Microsoft Security Essentials is a great tool in the fight against known malicious software; however improving the overall health of the ecosystem also requires addressing malware at the distribution source. Driving more systems to genuine has the opportunity to better serve the business and security needs of the ecosystem overall.

Personally, I don't agree, but I guess Microsoft has licenses to sell.]

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Security, Software, Windows

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54 comments
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  • They need to realize that

    No matter how hard they try, there will always be "ungenuine" systems. Either way, security is something ALL users need. Pushing MSE to freeloaders would be a huge step in the battle against malware.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Agreed. It's like giving free fire extingishers

      to everyone, including those that wired their homes illegaly.

      In the end, if they put out a fire created by that, I'm safe in the fact that it won't take the rest of the neighborhood with it were it to grow out of control.
      John Zern
      • And while we are at it, why don't we....

        @John Zern

        provide free, automatic crash protection for ALL drivers on the road, including those who drink and drive. That would surely be good for road safety would it not?
        Economister
      • RE: Why Microsoft should push Security Essentials to freeloaders

        @Economister

        I am not sure if your comment is sarcastic or not so if it is apologize ahead of time, but if you are serious then I feel sorry for your logic. I do not see any advantage of rewarding criminals of any kind. Take steps to protect the legit users and honest people and let the criminals crash and burn. I hope their identity gets stolen and they lose money and their credibility. An unfortunate side effect is that sometimes innocent people get harmed in the process so that is why I think it is good that Microsoft has created Security Essentials despite that there have been other good free solutions for years. Putting it as an optional download for computers not running any security software because they ignored the security center/action center warnings is also a good thing but screw the pirates. Let them rot.
        bobiroc
      • Sarcasm indeed

        @bobiroc

        I mistakenly thought that post would be read in the context of my other post, but I realize that is a stupid assumption, because my posts can end up VERY far apart.
        Economister
    • RE: Why Microsoft should push Security Essentials to freeloaders

      @Cylon Centurion 0005 I Kind of agree but at the same time I don't. Because while its better against malware to have it on all systems, Windows 7 is worth buying, and freeloaders don't need free ms supported anti virus aswell. There are plenty of other free anti virus softwares out there that they can use if they wish to remain non legit.
      Jimster480
  • "Good for the entire Windows ecosystem"?

    What the heck does that mean? That is one of those feel good, motherhood and apple pie statements that nobody is supposed to disagree with. <br><br>I am usually not too kind to MS, but I think you are being unfair. MS is clearly part of that ecosystem. Why would it benefit MS to provide full security on pirated copies? More and more people would have incentives to pirate and MS's revenues might shrink. Should they still provide security SW if ALL Windows users have pirated copies? That would still be "good for the Windows ecosystem", would it not?. And if not, at what level of piracy would MS, in your opinion, be entitled to decline to provide security support? 10%?, 20%?, 30%?.....I guess you get my point.<br><br>You used the words "counterproductive" and "unhelpful", but did not elaborate AT ALL. If you want to express an opinion in a blog, I think you need to provide a slightly better justification than you have provided so far.
    Economister
  • So you are condoning piracy?

    That is just insane. I don't even have words for how stupid this blog post is. Microsoft or any company has the right to not offer updates or extras to people that obtain the software through illegal means. Heck I know some Free software titles that will not let you update or use some features if you do not register it. If you want to be a freeloader then use one of the many flavors of Linux and accept the limitations that come along with that.
    bobiroc
    • I'm not condoning it, no.

      @bobiroc

      But no matter how hard you try people will do it. Knowingly or unknowingly.
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Why Microsoft should push Security Essentials to freeloaders

        @Cylon Centurion 0005

        Well then they need to accept the risk by doing something illegally then don't they. No other software company willingly allows pirates of their software to get updates or enhancements do they? It would be like someone stealing a car and allowing them to get warranty work for a recall or some other problem now wouldn't it?
        bobiroc
      • As far as I'm concerned...

        ...I don't have to worry about any of this, since I'd rather pay an outside AV vendor an annual subscription than have M$'s [b]WGA spyware[/b] pinging my machine every 30, 60 or 90 days.
        ahh so
      • RE: Why Microsoft should push Security Essentials to freeloaders

        @ahh so

        Then why are you here? Oh to just spread your anti-microsoft and your misinformed commentary. I get it. One of these days you will grow up I hope. I am not too hopeful though as I think you are a lost cause.
        bobiroc
      • This isn't just a forum for shills and redmond fanboys

        [i]Then why are you here?[/i]

        Because some people need to know about it, that's why bobrockhead.

        If you download Security Essentials then WGA is a part of the deal, and [b]some people[/b] who care about that sort of thing, might think twice before they accept another so-called freebie from M$.

        [i]Oh to just spread your anti-microsoft and your misinformed commentary.[/i]

        Nope, just telling [b]all the facts[/b] like it is, and correcting the [i]lying by omission[/i] part.

        [i]One of these days you will grow up I hope. I am not too hopeful though as I think you are a lost cause.[/i]

        Yup, I am a lost cause as you say. Ever since that sh!tty Vista install back in 2007. I haven't forgotten about that.
        ahh so
    • LOL you are a funny guy

      @bobiroc I am a free loader since windows 95 and I always had all the updates and perks of the highest versions. Now Im happy and virus free thanks to my illegal Windows 7 Ult. x64! Damn I would be stuck with a lowly x86 home ed. if I was a paying customer. I pay my AV though.
      Tommy S.
  • Its all about market shares,

    If MS would like to be Pirate free ... ITs easy as 1-2-3 If your connected to the net Boom your neither legal or your OUT ...... But How many pirate user out there 10-20-30-50%.

    IN some country maybe 90% ..... Now we touch a nerve because if you remove all the windows pirate. Guess what they will go toward 2 thing win 2000 that is still a working OS without WGA or they go OPen source linux,bsd, and the rest or they will go with Apple ...... That the thing that MS dont want they prefer to be pirated than to be oust to linux ....... Because of the market share.


    Keep skating MS your going nowhere
    Quebec-french
    • RE: Why Microsoft should push Security Essentials to freeloaders

      @Quebec-french

      I think at this point you would realize that Free Operating systems have been available for years and even the Pirates refuse to use them. What does that say about the Free OSes out there?
      bobiroc
      • You miss the point completely

        @bobiroc
        If you go 100% pirate proof out there some people will have 2 choice buy the os or find alternative .

        1 Win 2k is still out there easily pirated and still doing the job
        2 buy the os some will never do that
        3 get a alternative
        And remember the argument is about having 100% pirate free no work around , or the comment is no good .
        Quebec-french
      • RE: Why Microsoft should push Security Essentials to freeloaders

        @bobiroc They are useless sh*t. I have a dual booting Ubuntu 10.10 installed, but I never use it. Its nice but useless.
        Tommy S.
    • Interesting point!

      @Quebec-french
      [i]or they go OPen source linux,bsd[/i]

      The thing is that bobiroc is 100% right, they've had that option from the beginning yet 99.2% of desktop users go out of their way not to run Linux on their desktops / laptops. So no, I don't think Linux would benefit that much from this.

      [i]the rest or they will go with Apple[/i]

      Now that thought is interesting. Of course, none of these people will actually buy any Apple hardware, nor will they pay for OS X. If you aren't going to pay $130 for Windows, you are certainly not going to pay $130 for OS X + hundreds / thousands more on a Mac. So they will steal OS X. What do you think Apple will do when 95% of OS X users are stealing OS X? Seriously, what do you think they will do? I have my guess but I'm curious to hear what you think.

      Personally, I don't believe anyone will ever make a hack proof OS so in your scenario where pirated Windows gets shut down when you connect to the net, my guess is that within minutes, a workaround will be found. The very simplest workaround would simply be to block outgoing traffic to the validation server. Done.
      NonZealot
      • I never believed that Linux would gain from it

        @NonZealot

        I just mention linux but it could be anything If MS goes 100% pirate free ... Those user that refuse or are unable to pay for the os will have to go somewhere . and that some where is FOSS/gnu/linux/bsd. that all Im not defending FOOS/linux .... Im just thinking why MS is letting itself by pirated ......

        1 market share
        2 denying potential FOSS rooting
        Quebec-french