Friday, June 12, 2009

Free Antivirus Protection Offer From Microsoft

Microsoft is gearing up to offer Windows users a free real-time antivirus protection. Code name Morro, the antivirus product will be a hosted service. Morro works by routing all users Internet traffic to a Microsoft datacenter, where the application will process the traffic and identify and block malware in real-time, by examining all of the rerouted traffic.

Microsoft says Morro will be released as a public beta first. However there is no word on the final release. The question is will Windows users trust their PC to a beta hosted antivirus product? Or is this just another marketing strategy that will give Windows 7 the perception it has anti-malware technology built-in?

Microsoft claims that Morro will help them build better products in the future, by being on the leading edge of malware protection. This will help Microsoft understand how malware develops, spreads and infiltrates systems. 

There will be questions that Microsoft will have to address by the Windows community before they expect users to try their free product. Some of the questions that will need to be answered are: 

• Will there be any impact on Windows performance? 
• Will Morro be implemented in Microsoft's other Operating Systems? 
• What happens when a computer is not connected to the internet? 
• Will the product remain up-to-date? 
• What user information will be routed to Microsoft's servers?

These are only a few of the many questions that Microsoft will have to answer. 
Since Morro is only a real-time malware protection antivirus, I don't see the majority of Windows users switching over to this free service. Companies like Symantec and McAffe also offer spam, identity and network security protection that is not mentioned in Morro's hosting service.

Only time will tell if Morro's real-time malware protection will gain momentum and be of any use to the personal PC community and the corporate IT departments.

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Find a way: A New Type of Atomic Clock

Physicists from the University of New South Wales, Australia and the University of Nevada, Reno propose a method to reduce the size of atomic clocks to handy, compact devices using specially engineered optical lattices.

Optical lattices are created by trapping atoms in a standing wave light field formed by laser beams. But the lasers can hamper the time keeping ability of the atoms. By applying an external magnetic field to the lattice in a specific direction, the atomic clock is rendered insensitive to the laser field strength. This property allows the atomic clock to function properly at a smaller size.

While a portable cesium clock could benefit numerous scientific and general applications, the expected accuracy of the optical lattice clocks has yet to be explored. Calling for further theoretical and experimental investigation, the authors assert that even if the precision of such clocks turns out to be less competitive than the fountains, the optical lattice clocks have a clear advantage of a smaller apparatus size, making them useful in applications like navigation systems and precision tests of fundamental symmetries in space.

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