… or I’ll do to you what I did to Internet Explorer!

I imagine some suit at Microsoft sneering this line after emasculating poor Microsoft Security Essentials for Christmas laughs late last year.

This info is a little old now, but since I’m on a “write about Microsoft products” kick on this here crappy blog, I thought I’d mention it anyway.

According to a computer lab filled with serious German scientists, (from this source and this source), it would seem that Microsoft’s very own anti-malware tool is kind of useless compared to what other companies have released.  Again, I don’t use MSE, so I really don’t care a whole lot.  I also use Linux for most of what I do on the internet, and comparing Linux to Windows for internet security is like comparing a sirloin steak to a moldy bag of peanuts that has roaches and ants in it and also somehow gonorrhea .  I also don’t know if these glaring failures have been reversed.  But here are some graphs which I shamelessly stole from one of these articles:

msefail1 msefail2

Were I one of the millions of users of Microsoft Security Essentials, I would be freaking out right about now.  Actually, I would have freaked out months ago when I first read this, but that’s beside the point.

Speaking of point, I should get on with mine.  This makes me think of the way that Microsoft handled their ill-gotten victory in the late 90s browser wars.  One they had used their monopoly in PC operating systems to spread their browser Internet Exploiter Explorer, and once they had left poor scrappy Netscrape Netscape Navigator in a pool of its own blood and broken teeth, progress on IE stalled.

There was no need for Microsoft to “waste” resources on improving it after IE6 came out.  They had a massive majority in the browser market, and at the time they had “won” it, IE6 was technically a more capable browser than Navigator.

But you might remember the massive security hole that IE6 was and still is.  ActiveX controls?  Let websites control certain functions of your computer?  What a great fucking idea!  That wasn’t the only security vulnerability.  Back then, Microsoft was just synonymous with terrible security.

Back to my point.  Microsoft let IE6 basically rot.  It took Firefox rising from Netscape’s ashes to get them to, you know, compete in the browser market again.  The more that MS got scared that they would lose market share, the more they desperately applied lipstick to the pig that is IE.

Can you see where I’m going with this?  I know, it’s like watching Ray Charles driving a nitro-burning funny car, but bear with me.  I’m thinking that this is what’s going on with Microsoft Security Essentials now.  (The IE thing, not the Ray Charles thing.)

MSE took market share from all the other antivirus/anti-malware programs out there because it was fast and lean.  It still is much faster and leaner because it doesn’t quite work in the same way as those other programs do.  And I guess it turns out that it doesn’t quite work.

But after gaining that market lead, why would Microsoft waste resources by innovating or improving MSE?  Why not let it rot?  That seems to be what they do between applying fresh coats of lipstick on their various pigs.

Okay, Ray Charles is changing lanes now.  I use Windows XP in a virtual machine on my Linux computer.  The virtual XP has an internet connection, so I have to protect it.  Using a Windows PC operating system is like dropping the soap in jail while singing showtunes.  So I have antivirus (Avast), anti-spyware (SpyBot) and a firewall (ZoneAlarm) running to keep the wee beasties out.

Ray Charles is being flagged to come in for a pit stop, but he can’t see the flag.  Is that how racing works?  I don’t know, I’ve never watched it.  It’s all just a whole bunch of left turns anyway.  What’s so exciting about that?

Ahem.  Avast seems to be regarded as the best free antivirus.  But damn, has the latest version ever decided that it’s all my virtual XP was made to do.  Light and lithe it ain’t.  But I read about the new features that this latest version has, and I can see why it’s taking up my VM’s allotted processor cycles so much.  I guess I don’t mind then.  It beats being like MSE and, you know, not working very well.

I’m Ray Charles and you’ve been fabulous!  Goodnight!