MS exec admits to Windows 10 disabling third-party security software

News by Roi Perez

The admission from Microsoft comes as Kaspersky Lab is suing the company for antitrust violations.

A top Microsoft official has admitted Windows 10 disables some third-party security software, but not to hamstring the competition, rather to curb compatibility issues.

The American software giant is currently at odds with Kaspersky Lab in some European and Russian courts over alleged antitrust violations.

Kaspersky Lab has complained Microsoft is conducting some anti-competitive behaviour, as it bundles Windows Defender (a Windows security suite) into its operating system, but also disables competitive AV solutions.

Rob Lefferts, director of security of the Windows and Devices group, wrote in a blog post recently: “For the small number of applications that still needed updating, we built a feature just for AV apps that would prompt the customer to install a new version of their AV app right after the update completed. To do this, we first temporarily disabled some parts of the AV software when the update began.”

But reassured customers said that “Microsoft's application compatibility teams found that roughly 95 percent of Windows 10 PCs had an antivirus application installed that was already compatible with Windows 10 Creators Update.”

According to the blog, Microsoft took such actions to protect the wide array of customers they have from “300,000 new malware samples being created and spread every day.”

Other industry commentators have predicted this is somewhat spurred on by the WannaCry ransomware attack, and Microsoft wanting to ensure all of its customers are up to date.

By response, Kaspersky argues that these checks of compatibility have gone down from two months in frequency to just six days. This means that Kaspersky Lab has less time to repair and fix to ensure everything works well with Windows 10.

Eugene Kaspersky, the larger-than-life CEO of Kaspersky Lab blogged back in May about the lawsuit, and said things are heading in the “right direction”.

Kaspersky says: “But we're not stopping there, and will continue to insist on healthy – I repeat: healthy – competition, amid which all market participants have equal opportunities. Only then will users be able to choose and use the high-quality products they want, instead of having to make do with what their OS quietly and/or unfairly chooses for them. Only then will users be able to effectively protect what matters most to them from cyber-threats.”

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