Microsoft to Offer Free Antivirus Protection

Jun 11, 2009 by John Messina weblog
Morro Antivirus

Microsoft is gearing up to offer Windows users a free real-time antivirus protection. Code name Morro, the antivirus product will be a hosted service. Morro works by routing all users Internet traffic to a Microsoft datacenter, where the application will process the traffic and identify and block malware in real-time, by examining all of the rerouted traffic.

Microsoft says Morro will be released as a public beta first. However there is no word on the final release. The question is will users trust their PC to a beta hosted product? Or is this just another marketing strategy that will give Windows 7 the perception it has anti-malware technology built-in?

Microsoft claims that Morro will help them build better products in the future, by being on the leading edge of malware protection. This will help Microsoft understand how malware develops, spreads and infiltrates systems.

There will be questions that Microsoft will have to address by the Windows community before they expect users to try their free product. Some of the questions that will need to be answered are:

• Will there be any impact on Windows performance?
• Will Morro be implemented in Microsoft's other Operating Systems?
• What happens when a computer is not connected to the internet?
• Will the product remain up-to-date?
• What user information will be routed to Microsoft's servers?

These are only a few of the many questions that Microsoft will have to answer.

Since Morro is only a real-time malware protection antivirus, I don't see the majority of Windows users switching over to this free service. Companies like and McAffe also offer spam, identity and protection that is not mentioned in Morro's hosting service.

Only time will tell if Morro's real-time malware protection will gain momentum and be of any use to the personal PC community and the corporate IT departments.

Explore further: IBM unveils cognitive exploration to drive better business outcomes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Grisoft Offers Free Rootkit Removal

Apr 11, 2007

Grisoft, makers of the popular AVG Antivirus, today released a free tool specifically aimed at eliminating malicious software that hides itself using rootkit techniques.

New Windows tool checks for piracy

Apr 26, 2006

In an attempt to curb piracy of its Windows operating system, Microsoft Tuesday put out a tool that checks whether a PC is running a copy of Windows that is fully licensed.

Recommended for you

Smarter, quicker-thinking referees? There's an app for that

Oct 27, 2014

KU Leuven and UEFA, European football's governing body, have embarked on a four-year project to expand and fine-tune a web-based skills training platform for referees. Early results show that the application can improve assistant ...

User comments : 31

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

John_balls
4.8 / 5 (5) Jun 11, 2009
Wow, sounds a little bit like big brother. I wonder if the NSA is involved with this??



This sounds like it's going to slow down traffic , not sure if I want that.
gopher65
4 / 5 (5) Jun 11, 2009
No kidding John. I think it sounds a little draconian too.

And this will definitely slow down traffic. The question is, will it slow down traffic enough that regular people will either 1)notice, or 2)care, if they do. Clearly Microsoft's tech people think that this will work, so they must think that the slight delay won't be a big deal to most people.
mforbes21
4.8 / 5 (6) Jun 11, 2009
There's no way that I'm going to voluntarily submit my personal data (account numbers, passwords, etc)-- encrypted or not-- to any corporate entity, least of all Microsoft.

I'll continue to pay for Norton or McAffee, thank you very much.
am_Unition
4.1 / 5 (7) Jun 11, 2009
Please overlook the fact that the *vast* majority of viruses are written for Windows in the first place. Then buy our operating system!
EvgenijM
3.3 / 5 (9) Jun 11, 2009
Why bother with antivirus, when you can just use Linux?
Nemo
4 / 5 (4) Jun 11, 2009
Agreed. The current crop of distros far outperform Windows so why bother with MS unless you absolutely have to?

Why bother with antivirus, when you can just use Linux?

brant
4 / 5 (4) Jun 11, 2009
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!

Whew...

HHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!

Whew. Alot of work laughing that hard!!!
Smellyhat
5 / 5 (6) Jun 11, 2009
Ahem. Allow me to continue where brant left off, there.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!!!

Forget Windows versus Linux or anything else. This is hands down simply the stupidest idea I have ever heard. What they would *really* like is permission to perform deep packet inspection on all your traffic. That would allow them to derive a massive amount of sociometric data, which they could in turn sell to marketing firms. Once they become more comfortable in their position as your sole portal to the world, they'll offer a directed advertising service.

The hilarious thing is that this would be seen as an alternative to patching the vulnerabilities in their software that the people they propose to protect you from exploit.
derricka
5 / 5 (7) Jun 11, 2009
I love the part that says:

"Morro works by routing all users Internet traffic to a Microsoft datacenter, where the application will process the traffic"

Un Phhhttt-king believable. That's like the builder of your new house, who failed to put in proper doors and locks, now offering a "solution", in the form of strip searching all visitors to your house. But then, that's Microsoft. From them, nothing is too stupid to surprise me anymore.
vika_Tae
5 / 5 (2) Jun 11, 2009
When they say "routing all users Internet traffic to a Microsoft datacenter", do they mean ALL internet traffic, as in everything you access online, is routed through this central datacenter, or just the virus program will be routed through the datacenter? Seems unclear on that point.

Also, is this going to be like many other Microsoft optional extras? That is to say enforced to users, snuck in as a 'critical' download you cannot remove?

Would not be the first time they have done that.
Arikin
4 / 5 (4) Jun 11, 2009
derricka, I love your analogy.

Oh by the way the traffic loads on the internet infrastructure gets hard to handle at peak times as it is.

More and more people are sharing more and more large files and streaming video. So I would really hate to handle the routing at the MS datacenters...

As for packet sniffing everything that isn't really feasible or desirable for now. Trying to analyze every tcpdump at that volume is impossible for humans and error prone when done by machine. So until the machines get smarter. Besides, do you know how boring most people's web viewing habits are?! :-)
kevinf
5 / 5 (2) Jun 12, 2009
SO my internet speeds are 20X2 on a cable modem. My download traffic would now go into their data center and then be processed. Then it would be upload traffic for them back out to me. And they are going to provide a 20M upload speed to me for FREE? I just don't see it happening.
Walid
5 / 5 (2) Jun 12, 2009
Opera does that for its mobile based browsers. All data for Opera's mobile browsers pass through their servers and gets reformatted for the phone they are supposed to show up on. This does have a latency but is not very noticeable because mobiles use smaller pages. However Microsoft managing YouTube is another story all together.

Besides that, security will be improved because Microsoft knows how hackers try to exploit Windows and can detect patterns of security breaches. Even though Microsoft will have taken one step forward, hackers will catchup as usual and exploit the proposed system using more elaborate techniques.
no1enter
1.5 / 5 (2) Jun 12, 2009
Why bother with antivirus, when you can just use Linux?

Yes Linux is all well and good, however now that M$ has came out with the 'games for windows' bs, and yes it IS bs, there is no hope for Linux to be able to run games native, or at all unless of course you dont mind spending days or weeks hacking and slashing wine or purchasing crossover....... Speaking of 'games for window$' those games that are built for that bs are no longer compatible with my logitech controller... It seems like M$ is trying to force me into buying there 'special' and to me very uncomfortable xbox controller. And I have no idea how to hack the controller or game to make it work.
ArtflDgr
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 12, 2009
I can see the advertising..

little orphan anny and her dog are at the computer. and there is a problem... what should they do?

to morrow! to morrow! i must go get to to morrow!

she stops... and says to her dog..
but its not out yet?

its only a day away... then to morrow, to morrow, i will love you too morrow... your only a day away!!!

[ack!]
Assaad33
5 / 5 (3) Jun 12, 2009
hehe this Morro is a nice joke! Why should we trust Microsoft to process all our Internet traffic?
Icester
5 / 5 (2) Jun 12, 2009
All your bittorent belongs to us!
Velanarris
2.8 / 5 (4) Jun 12, 2009
hehe this Morro is a nice joke! Why should we trust Microsoft to process all our Internet traffic?

Because they already do?

Most internet traffic is already delivered through Cisco and Microsoft datacenters.
austux
4 / 5 (1) Jun 13, 2009
Why bother with antivirus, when you can just use Linux?


Microsoft have been all about control, since Day One (or possibly Day Zero) rather than functionality.

This all-your-data-are-belong-to-us enterprise is no different. They are exporting My Documents, or My Computer where the "My" in question is William Henry Gates III, not you, not I.

Once you get the control issue clear in your mind, the answer becomes awesomely simple: don't use anything supplied or in bondage to Microsoft. No viruses. No adware. No malware. Problem solved, everyone can go home.

He says from his laptop, running Mandriva Linux 2009.1, typing into the Firefox web browser, editing docs with OpenOffice, graphics with GIMP, sounds with Audacity, etc. For free.
austux
5 / 5 (3) Jun 13, 2009
By the way, can anybody here imagine Microsoft failing to take advantage of the total censorship implied in their proposed method, for marketing purposes?
Velanarris
2 / 5 (4) Jun 13, 2009
Microsoft have been all about control, since Day One (or possibly Day Zero) rather than functionality.
That's not true.That's just the reputation. All members of the IT community acknowlegde that to provide funtionality an aspect of control must be in place to maintain standards of access. Otherwise the house falls in on itself and nothing is functional.

He says from his laptop, running Mandriva Linux 2009.1, typing into the Firefox web browser, editing docs with OpenOffice, graphics with GIMP, sounds with Audacity, etc. For free.
Because open source freeware is more secure by far....

Amateurs shouldn't make enterprise recomendations.
Nan2
5 / 5 (5) Jun 13, 2009
Lets add in the Googleplex and we are all just bait for ad revenues-our medical records and every aspect our common boring lives sold, sent out for analysis to turn that almighty profit.

Our latest resume for a job will be augmented for a nice tidy fee, in the shadows, to include actuarial statistical analysis on how many productive hours might be lost to our allergies, how favorably our friends view us as team players and if our credit score is nice and tidy, how many times we exceed the average energy use on the new electronic electrical grid with our neat new plug in cars, if we purchased too many rib eyes in the grocery store to be considered a health risk and a potential drain on health care expenditures and..... eventually, just how bad our individual DNA is and the likelihood chronic illness in our future on those markers.

Its a "Brave New World" folks. Privacy-not ever again and increasingly impossible no matter how many work-arounds you may try. Go ahead and take endless pictures of your life-at parties, on the street, in your car-let google post it right along with their pictures of your home, your location on the internet, after all-that be kewlness!! right?
Newbeak
3 / 5 (1) Jun 13, 2009
My ISP includes anti-virus protection for no additional cost,and I use Sandboxie when surfing.The problem with all anti-virus products is they are always playing catch-up with the bad guys.At least Sandboxie prevents malware from writing to your harddrive.
Velanarris
5 / 5 (1) Jun 14, 2009
My ISP includes anti-virus protection for no additional cost,and I use Sandboxie when surfing.The problem with all anti-virus products is they are always playing catch-up with the bad guys.At least Sandboxie prevents malware from writing to your harddrive.

No, it doesn't do that unfortunately. It caches all actions until shutdown. Since you're not really preventing anything, you're jsut delaying the write until shutdown. If your scanner misses it, it's still installed.

All network and computer security is a matter of degrees. You can invest in a higher degree of protection, but the only way to be truely free is to turn it off, unplug it and leave your computer in the garage.
Smellyhat
5 / 5 (1) Jun 14, 2009
@Nan2: Don't blame me, *I* voted for Kodos.
superhuman
3 / 5 (4) Jun 14, 2009
hehe this Morro is a nice joke! Why should we trust Microsoft to process all our Internet traffic?

Because they already do?
Most internet traffic is already delivered through Cisco and Microsoft datacenters.

No, they don't. M$ only provides software but they have no control over internet traffic.
Because open source freeware is more secure by far....

Of course it is. It is *BY FAR* more secure and much better coded.
All members of the IT community acknowlegde that to provide funtionality an aspect of control must be in place to maintain standards of access. Otherwise the house falls in on itself and nothing is functional.

What the hell are you talking about? Standards and control are on two opposite sides of the battle, with open source always fighting for standarization and those who wanted control including MS always against it to lock clients to their products.

Stop making things up as you go.
Newbeak
2 / 5 (1) Jun 14, 2009
My ISP includes anti-virus protection for no additional cost,and I use Sandboxie when surfing.The problem with all anti-virus products is they are always playing catch-up with the bad guys.At least Sandboxie prevents malware from writing to your harddrive.


No, it doesn't do that unfortunately. It caches all actions until shutdown. Since you're not really preventing anything, you're jsut delaying the write until shutdown. If your scanner misses it, it's still installed.



All network and computer security is a matter of degrees. You can invest in a higher degree of protection, but the only way to be truely free is to turn it off, unplug it and leave your computer in the garage.


That's not the way the Sandboxie site describes it.You can manually delete contents of the sandbox or set it to delete everything on shut down.Nothing is written to the hard drive without your explicit permission.

dachpyarvile
3 / 5 (1) Jun 14, 2009
There's no way that I'm going to voluntarily submit my personal data (account numbers, passwords, etc)-- encrypted or not-- to any corporate entity, least of all Microsoft.







I'll continue to pay for Norton or McAffee, thank you very much.




If you pay for these online you already have given at least two corporations your financial information and the passwords used to access these accounts.

And, if you use Opera Mobile or Opera Mini, you already use a data network very similar to what Microsoft is proposing. :)
Velanarris
1.5 / 5 (2) Jun 15, 2009

Because they already do?

Most internet traffic is already delivered through Cisco and Microsoft datacenters.


No, they don't. M$ only provides software but they have no control over internet traffic.
Sorry SH, the largest internet hubs, which if you follow network theory at all, are provided by MS and Cisco. http://ieeexplore...00656087

Because open source freeware is more secure by far....


Of course it is. It is *BY FAR* more secure and much better coded.
No, no it's not. It is "open source" meaning that the source code, and by extension, every programming loophole is completely exposed. That is not more secure, that's more secure through trial and error. Combine that with the amount of junk code imported by layman programmers and you'll find the majority of freeware is garbage. For expamle Firefox browser helper objects causing IPv6 protocol shutdowns on embedded Broadcom cards, or the multi-level MAC spoofing loophole created by RedHat v3.5

All members of the IT community acknowlegde that to provide funtionality an aspect of control must be in place to maintain standards of access. Otherwise the house falls in on itself and nothing is functional.


What the hell are you talking about? Standards and control are on two opposite sides of the battle, with open source always fighting for standarization and those who wanted control including MS always against it to lock clients to their products.
Ok, that's not right. MS locked home users into IE. That was monopoly through marketing, not through manufacture. Netscape got their case going because MS shut down their ability to use Navigator as a launch board/OS replacement due to the functions that IE could employ being locked down through an internal API that no one was allowed access to. When the API was opened up and IE was decoupled from the MS OS, Navigator still ran like molasses.
Stop making things up as you go.

I certainly am not. I've been in this field for a long time, and I am considered an expert in it by accolade and experience.
vika_Tae
1 / 5 (1) Jun 17, 2009
"Sorry SH, the largest internet hubs, which if you follow network theory at all, are provided by MS and Cisco."

Well, I'm not sure how you make the jump from powered by MS, to insinuating MS can go in and look at any of the data traveling through those servers. They provide the software for 15% of the data centres, yes, but that in no way gives them the right to snoop on the data. Same as if you use Microsoft Windows as your PC operating system, that does not give a Microsoft employee the right to snoop on the contents of your hard drive.

Morro changes that game, by allowing them to nose at any traffic you send across the internet, and do pretty much whatever they like with it. The only way really to stop them, if they do sneak Morro in on the quiet, will be to encrypt all internet traffic before its sent.

Still won't solve the bottlenecking problem this will create however, as 100% of all Internet traffic is routed through 15% of all datacentres.
Velanarris
1 / 5 (1) Jun 17, 2009
Well, I'm not sure how you make the jump from powered by MS, to insinuating MS can go in and look at any of the data traveling through those servers. They provide the software for 15% of the data centres, yes, but that in no way gives them the right to snoop on the data. Same as if you use Microsoft Windows as your PC operating system, that does not give a Microsoft employee the right to snoop on the contents of your hard drive.



I never made that jump. The posed question was "Why would you want your data going through Microsoft datacenters anyway." And the response was, "because it already does."



As for datacenter and hub, those are two wholly different things. Everyone has a datacenter, only the largest of us have an Internet hub. They're completely different.

And if you read your EULA, MS is allowed to look at anything you create with their software. Anything.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.