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Broadband MSN gets blanket security

Microsoft strikes a deal to package antivirus and firewall products from McAfee with its MSN Premium Internet service to help users fend off virus attacks and hackers.

Microsoft on Friday said it would bundle McAfee security products with an upcoming broadband version of its Internet service to help users fend off virus attacks and hackers.

The company has partnered with Network Associates, the maker of McAfee antivirus and firewall products, to help Microsoft provide protection to subscribers of its broadband MSN Premium service, slated for launch this winter. Customers of the MSN Plus and MSN dial-up services will have to pay separately for the security software.

The bundle is part of a larger effort by Microsoft to entice customers to use high-speed broadband services. The Redmond, Wash.,

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company and its Net rival, America Online, have been responding to declines in their mainstay dial-up subscriptions by recasting their services to become more focused on broadband.

Besides Internet access, MSN Premium is expected to include a digital photo editor, tight links between the Hotmail and Outlook e-mail applications, and enhanced spam-blocking.

Broadband-connected computers are considered more prone to virus attacks, because the connection is always on and facilitates instant messaging, peer-to-peer file sharing and downloads. Recent attacks have put corporations and consumers on notice that better defenses are needed to guard against intrusions.

"Recent threats such as Lovsan and Sobig have demonstrated the need for consumer users to have up-to-date, comprehensive and easy-to-use security technology installed on their computers," Todd Gebhart, a vice president at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Network Associates, said in a statement.