Brand power can fix rogue AV issue: Microsoft

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Brand power can fix rogue AV issue: Microsoft

Fake AV the 'greatest threat to Australian users'.

Consumers unable to tell the difference between real and fake antivirus software should simply use Microsoft Security Essentials, according to the software giant.

Microsoft Australia's chief security advisor Stuart Strathdee told iTnews that fake security software is the greatest threat to Australian users right now.

He was agreeing with research published this week by security giant Symantec, which claimed more than 40 million people had been duped into installing rogue security applications last year.

According to Strathdee, consumers should only purchase software developed by a brand they trust in order to stay safe.

"The most obvious way that Microsoft is looking to address this is through Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). We have a protective technology that has a name that people know they can trust in this space.

"There have been a lot of other free security products out there for a number of years but they don't have the same brand recognition that Microsoft does and so in terms of having a name that your average mum or dad at home can recognise ... MSE fits," he said.

When asked if whitelisting legitimate security products - so rogue security applications would be automatically blocked - was a possibility, Strathdee explained that this would be "an enormous amount of work" and is made more difficult in countries that have a large number of relatively unknown security vendors.

"It would take an enormous amount of work, particularly when you look at the number of countries that produce AV software. In China, South Korea and potentially Russia, there would be a lot of vendors that are legitimate but we don't have a particularly deep relationship with.

"The big guys [Symantec, Trend AVG etc], because their products are more prevalent in our particular location, they are trustworthy organisations to work with. But if you asked me the top five antivirus vendors in China I would struggle to tell you.

"I'm not against a whitelisting strategy in any way, shape or form. I am just highlighting the current product set we have deployed at this time. At this stage, looking at the overall landscape, we are focussed on MSE as our frontline tool," he added.

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