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Microsoft releases free anti-malware for Azure VMs

Tick a box, zap the baddies, annoy the competition

Free anti-malware software is not hard to find: even reputable vendors offer product at the low, low, price of $0.00 for client devices/

Microsoft is now doing the same for servers – or at least for virtual machines in its Azure cloud with a new offering called (deep breath now) Microsoft Antimalware for Azure Cloud Services and Virtual Machines.

There's nothing startling about the product, which Microsoft says can “identify, block and remove malicious software” and “provides real time protection from the latest threats, can perform on-demand scanning, and monitoring at no additional charge to Microsoft Azure customers.” Microsoft also looks to be taking the product seriously, as its log files are consumable by HDInsight or another security information and event management product. That's if you choose to have the event logs stored in Azure storage, which does come at a cost.

The services is installed by default, but there is some action required to get the service running: you'll need to turn it on when creating a VM. Windows Servers 2008 R2, 2012 and 2012 R2 are supported, but not plain old 2008 and not Windows Server Technical Preview (for now).

Free anti-malware gives Microsoft an edge over other public clouds, many of which ask admins to install – and pay for - such software. Making security software a tick box option will therefore be welcome by many. Turning it on by default has the potential to make life even harder for crims, but is perhaps a bit too much to ask for. ®

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