MIcrosoft's Free Anti-Malware Tool Goes Live

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News Posted: Tue, Sep 29 2009 11:31 AM
Microsoft's new Security Essentials anti-malware product has just gone live. The site has been updated in the past hour or so, since we last checked it, and users can now download Microsoft Security Essentials for 32-bit Windows XP, and 32- and 64-bit Windows Vista/7.

That's correct, in case you're wondering. There is no support for 64-bit Windows XP, at least for now.

Microsoft's reasoning behind the free security software is, according to the company, to be sure that users in emerging markets are protected, as many of those users can't afford to buy antivirus software. As you probably know (and as Apple loves to trumpet), malware writers focus their efforts on Windows (understandably, considering its dominance).

On the other hand, the product Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) replaces, OneCare Live, certainly did not duplicate the dominance of the OS. It never really gathered much market share, and also was a poor performance, at least at first, with poor results in third-party AV tests such the VB100.

Symantec and McAfee, the big guns among security software, have not expressed much concern over MSE, but realistically, the word "free" combined with the word "Microsoft" is bound to attract users. There are a number of free AV products on the market, such as Avast, AVG, Comodo, and others, but they don't have that huge "Microsoft" logo and the trust (??) associated with it.

Microsoft has maintained the "simplistic" attitude in terms of alerting the end user of problems. As Microsoft says, "when you’re green, you’re good," just as with OneCare Live.

The question is, will this reduce the number of botnets and infections in emerging markets? Additionally, will consumers in places like the U.S. and Europe grab onto it? Readers, will you try it?
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3vi1 replied on Tue, Sep 29 2009 12:43 PM

This is great news: Now, virus/trojan authors can concentrate on circumventing the "official Microsoft product", which most users will blindly install as their only defense. In the past, viruses had to be more crafty and avoid detection by a host of possible AV products (who Microsoft no doubt intends to push out of the market).

Great news for the malware authors, I meant.

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Lev_Astov replied on Tue, Sep 29 2009 1:22 PM

That is also great news for the rest of us, though, since this probably means most malware will be susceptible to our more advanced protection!

Regardless, this is probably a good thing overall, provided MS gives it the support and resources it needs to work.

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Hey at least Microsoft is doing something proactive. As more users switch to Macs so as not to have to deal with malware/spyware headaches, this was a long time coming.

Plus, many Malware users already put enormous efforts into circumventing other popular anti-virus programs such as McAfee and Symantec products. I don't think we'll see too much difference there.

Though ESET is still king in anti-virus tech. :)

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transam02 replied on Tue, Sep 29 2009 10:36 PM

I think I will stick with what I have for anti spyware and anti virus. Microsoft is not known for spyware or virus protection.

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realneil replied on Wed, Sep 30 2009 9:25 AM

I like that they're taking a proactive approach to the problem. Time will tell if it's a viable solution or not. I'll use it along side my usual protections,...since I'm a great believer in free anti virus and spy-ware protection. It's free, so I'll try it out without relaxing my use of what I know to already work. If it doesn't get along with my existing programs I'll remove it.


Oh, and is that a Macbook that they're using in the photo above?

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strid3r replied on Thu, Oct 1 2009 9:21 AM

Ive been using MSE and I think it's pretty nice.  Very lightweight and the GUI beats a lot of the other guys.

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