RealTime IT News

Hotmail Offers E-Mail Virus Protection

Microsoft's Hotmail e-mail service Tuesday began offering virus detection software free to its estimated 30 million users. The move reverses an earlier decision to charge for the service.

Aimed at protecting users against infected file attachments, Hotmail is giving away Network Associates Inc.'s McAfee VirusScan free to members of the Web-based e-mail service. Members can use the software to scan attachments before downloading.

Hotmail previously offered the virus utility for $2 a month, but Laura Norman, Hotmail's product manager, said the company thought security should be a standard feature.

"We're always working to provide the most secure environment possible, and thought it was important that all our members benefit from virus protection," Norman said. "So we decided to make it one of our core features vs. a premium one."

This option is available to members regardless of operating system or geographic location and addresses all attachments other than in-line graphics presented within the message text, the company said.

"Making VirusScan a part of our service is the logical next step in our efforts to educate and protect our members, and something we know is important to them," said Don Bradford, Hotmail general manager.