Nobody like computer malware. Well, OK, those that make it do, and those that make a livelihood protecting us from it do, but for everyone else it's a malignant scourge. Given that every month Microsoft sends all us Windows users a big bundle of patches, shouldn't that update come with a complimentary virus scan?
OK, before you all start jumping up and down, let's look at what Microsoft does right now to protect users. First, Microsoft does include a small scale malware scanner in the form of the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) which comes in every Patch Tuesday. Sure, it covers quite a few bases, but it's still pretty basic.
Then there's Microsoft Security Essentials (still available for download if you know where to look ...), which should out of beta at some time in the near future. I've got this running on a few systems and I have to say that it's very good. Problem with this scanner is that people have to go out looking for it. For most people, Microsoft Security Essentials won't exist, no matter how good it is.
Which brings me back to the point I made right at the beginning. Shouldn't the Windows Update download come with a complimentary virus scan? Sure, this scan would annoy the heck out of the antivirus industry, but I think that it would be the single most effective step that Microsoft could do to make the web a safer place all round. Even if the scan did nothing more than just tell people their PCs were infected and pointed them in the direction of anti virus software (free or otherwise) from other vendors, it would at least act as a warning for users that their system is unwell. Given that people seem to respond well to fake virus warnings generated by malware, it seems that people are genuinely concerned about viruses and other nasties on their PCs.
Personally, I'd welcome a monthly scan. Even though my systems are 100% clean, and I run my own scanners regularly, a monthly scan would be an added bit of reassurance in case I'd missed a scan.
So, what do you think? Would you like a monthly scan from Microsoft?