For all of Apple’s notable successes through the years, the company has done little to secure the world from malware and misinformation. It’s unlikely the latter can be managed at all, but Apple has worked to create a curated and well managed ecosystem of products and services. The rest of the world– Android smartphones and traditional Windows PCs remain something of a cesspool of malware and convoluted systems which seldom play nice-nice with other devices.
On the malware front, Eugene Kaspersky— yes, that Kasperksy, from Kaspersky Labs, the Russian company that lives on the intersection where security and malware meet– wants to secure the whole world for free.
I’ve some fantastic, earth-
shattering-saving news: we’re announcing the global launch of Kaspersky Free, which, as you may have guessed by the title, is completely free-of-charge! Oh my giveaway!
What’s going on? Well, free software to help free the world of malware. From Eugene Kaspersky.
We believe that everyone has the right to be free of cybersecurity fears
OK, but is that even possible? I mean, malware is everywhere and comes in many forms, so how is it possible for a free anti-virus-like utility to rid the world of malware?
It cannot. Free or otherwise. It cannot. Kaspersky rolled out Kaspersky Free to Russia, Ukraine, China and elsewhere. Did it work?
With practically zero promo activity Kaspersky Free was installed several million times, in doing so cranking up our market share considerably. Not that increasing market share is our aim; our aim is to raise the overall level of protection on the Internet.
That’s a humanitarian objective, for sure, and should be applauded, but isn’t there a certain reality that is overlooked in the gesture? Free does not mean Kaspersky Free will become ubiquitous among computer users; Windows, Mac, Android, or wherever else it spreads.
What’s in the free package?
It’s a version with all the bare essentials: file, email and web antivirus; automatic updates, self-defense; quarantine; and so on. This arsenal ensures convenient and safe web surfing (is it still surfing? Sounds a bit 90s to me), working with USB sticks and other portable storage media, and protection against both phishing and infected files being run. In short, the indispensable basics that no one on the planet should do without.
Again, commendable, albeit somewhat self-serving for Kaspersky Labs which has other products with more features and a price tag, and once the free version gets noticed, perhaps PC and smartphone users will upgrade. The problem with such altruism, of course, is market penetration. Right now, Apple has over 1-billion iOS and macOS customers. Microsoft’s Windows– and all its versions– runs on approximately 1.5-billion computers. Google’s Android is on about 1.8-billion mobile devices. Nothing else matters.
Most of the world’s malware runs on Windows and Android; very little on macOS or iOS. Kaspersky Free will not be distributed to all Windows PCs or Android smartphones and tablets. If Microsoft and Google cannot get their customers to upgrade to newer versions, how will Kaspersky get even a free utility onto all the world’s devices?
Meanwhile, Apple does a credible job of keeping more than 1-billion customers mostly free of malware– again, mostly– by continually improving their products, continually pushing out updates with regularity, and by providing customers with incentives to upgrade. To either new hardware or new operating systems and updates.
Even Apple cannot secure the whole Apple world so how can free software do the same for that part of the computing world which is not in the habit of upgrading to more secure and capable versions?