Currently, MSN Dial-up, the slowest-speed Internet service offered by Microsoft, ships with free versions of McAfee's VirusScan Online, but sans firewall. Beginning in the first quarter of next year, subscribers can download McAfee's VirusScan and Personal Firewall Plus.
Microsoft's broadband service, dubbed MSN Premium, already offers VirusScan and Personal Firewall Plus, software that was added in late October 2005.
The shift by ISPs to offer security services and software free of charge -- previously, many major Internet providers had charged for customers extra -- began over a year ago when Earthlink announced it was giving away anti-virus and firewall software to its subscribers.
Other national providers, including America Online and MSN, soon followed suit.