Microsoft is preparing to release a product they call OneCare, it is a suite of security related apps which goes a few steps beyond the critical update patching of WindowsUpdate. It will include a far more functional firewall (than that provided in Windows), antivirus, spyware remover, backup automator, and disk fragmentation automator. Price has not been announced, but is expected (by the author of the article cited) to be ~$40/year.
As the article also points out, it is nice to know that Microsoft, not profiting enough from selling the OS, can now profit even more from the issues surrounding its insecurity, and in the process drive other competitors in that space out of business. I am not suggesting that Microsoft has been directly responsible for all of the security woes of the platform, not at all. Any dominant platform would be by its popularity the target of script kiddies, virus writers, bot net builders, etc. But, Microsoft has made their job considerably easier by their decisions and neglect. One example would be the fact that a virgin install of XP from media if directly connected to the internet would be vulnerable to and extremely often become infected with various worm-borne contaminants before it was able to be patched via Windows Update. The time before the average computer on the average network would be infected is something like 7 minutes, seriously. Either you need to have a hardware firewall (firewalled router) or you need to take the steps outlined by SANS, steps which should have been at the very least implemented by Microsoft in the original media. Other OSes have made other choices about which services/ports to allow open and vulnerable by default, and their choices (most often: none) have meant their OS can at least survive into its critical initial patching. Obviously if you’ve bought XP recently, or on a recent computer then you’ve been safe via the SP2-related protections, but that’s a bit too late for so many users, and the damages (hundreds upon hundreds of millions if you believe the news media reports of worm-related damage, not to mention annoyance from bot nets delivering spam and conquering more PCs) should be paid off (I would argue) by the profits they will reap from OneCare. Or, since that’s totally impossible/impractical, give OneCare away for free, as a penance for their many gaffes of the past, present, and future. Will it happen? Almo$t certainly not.
The article: Now Windows can clean up after itself