Security is "priority number 20 or 30 for Microsoft"

Exclusive: Eugene Kaspersky unleashes a vitriolic attack on Microsoft's security software

Barry Collins
12 Mar 2010
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Security chief Eugene Kaspersky has launched a scathing attack on Microsoft's security record.

Speaking in the week his company launched its latest security suite, Kaspersky Pure, the Russian CEO blasted Microsoft's free Security Essentials software.

"I don't really believe in this project," Kaspersky told PC Pro. "Microsoft security is like a man with a golf set on the London Underground - something's wrong."

"Microsoft has a lot of different businesses: Windows, Office, keyboards," Kaspersky added. "Security is priority number 20 or 30. The resources are spent on the most serious projects."

Kaspersky admitted that his company has bulked out the number of features in its security suite to deliberately distance the product from Microsoft's free package. "The winners will be the companies focusing on security," Kaspersky said, when asked whether he viewed Microsoft Security Essentials as a threat.

"Brand Microsoft doesn't care about security. Microsoft can change people's minds and make people think Microsoft is [about] security, but that will cost billions of dollars, I'm afraid."

In a statement sent to PC Pro Microsoft insisted "security is a top priority for Microsoft. Microsoft has invested heavily in security, ever since the creation of the Microsoft Trustworthy Computing initiative in 2002, an initiative to deliver, secure, private and reliable computing experiences.

"Our Security Engineering Centre embeds security into the development of all our products. Our Security Response Centre is dedicated to rapidly responding to security issues, and our Malware Protection Centre is staffed by probably one of the largest groups of dedicated security researchers in the world.

"The success of these initiatives and groups is supported by the quality of a variety of products including our highly rated and award winning free anti-malware product Microsoft Security Essentials.”

PC quarantine

Kaspersky did find some common ground with Microsoft when it came to the idea of ISPs cutting off infected PCs until they're cleaned - a suggestion put forward by Microsoft's security expert Scott Charney last week.

"In Russia, many ISPs have been doing it for years," Kaspersky claimed. "When they realise poisoned traffic is coming from a computer, they block the connection".

Kaspersky admitted it causes a few angry calls from customers, who wonder how they're meant to clean their computer when they can't download security software. The ISPs "say go to the shop and buy a box," according to Kaspersky.

And the Russian has no sympathy for people who claim they don't need security software. "Some people say 'I have nothing valuable on my machine, I don't need antivirus. Bad idea. They get a spambot and generate infected traffic. You pay for parasitic traffic, you fund the criminals."

"It's a dangerous environment, we have to protect ourselves," he concluded.

Kaspersky Lab has issued a statement in response to this article which you can read here

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