By Matt Hines  |  Posted 2006-12-29 Print this article Print

In related news, it was recently reported by Kaspersky rival Trend Micro that underground hackers are already hawking zero-day exploits for Vista at a price of $50,000 per vulnerability. That Windows Vista exploit—which has not been independently verified—was just one of many zero-days available for sale at an auction-style marketplace infiltrated by the Tokyo-based anti-virus vendor, according to researchers at Tokyo, Japan-based Trend Micro.

Some experts have said that companies such as Kaspersky and Trend, that primarily provide anti-virus technologies, will see pricing for their products erode as end users adopt Vista and gain access to other new Microsoft security products, including its own malware-fighting tools. However, analysts said that development shouldnt come as a surprise to the AV players as Microsofts entry to the market has been on the horizon for some time.

John Pescatore, analyst with Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner said that the packaged security products offered by Symantec and McAfee, along with the arrival of Microsofts integrated technologies, have made it almost impossible to survive on AV alone.

Orenberg, president of Kasperskys U.S. unit, said he expects the price war to escalate even more in the coming months as Microsoft puts even more pressure on Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro to cut pricing to maintain market share.

If you go into any of the major retail stores, you see the usual suspects on the shelf, and theyre all going after the lowest common denominator. Over the last few years, the list price has gone down and down and down. Now that Microsoft is coming in even lower, it will get crazier," Orenberg said in a recent interview.

He said that Kaspersky will instead attempt to buck the pricing trend and aim its products at educated customers who he said are less likely to put their security in Microsofts hands.

Natalya Kaspersky, chief executive of the AV specialist, said customers are unwilling to trust Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft based on the sheer volume of security-related problems in Windows and its other products.

In a presentation to members of the media at the companys headquarters in mid-December, she said the security industry has seen nothing to suggest that Microsoft would be able to dominate the anti-malware market with the same ease as it has been able to dominate the OS space. Kaspersky specifically cast doubts on Microsofts ability to successfully market its OneCare PC security maintenance service.

"Microsoft still does not have a good reputation in this area. By default, Microsoft solutions are perceived as being insecure or full of security loopholes," Kaspersky said. "Given this, I am afraid that Microsofts new anti-virus solutions may suffer the same fate; virus writers will create malware that is designed primarily to evade detection by OneCare."

Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at Ryan Naraines eWEEK Security Watch blog.


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