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Screenshots from the new Microsoft Security Essentials, a free software suite which will be released in beta form Tuesday on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7, show the software's output when it detects no malware (above) and when it detects threats (below).  (Source: Microsoft)
Priced at free, this one should be a hot seller

Microsoft is putting consumer antivirus makers on notice Tuesday, when it will release the beta of its Microsoft Security Essentials, a new anti-malware suite.  Unlike its predecessor, Live OneCare suite, a subscription service which is being phased out, the new software will be offered for free to consumers.

Like traditional antivirus software, the new software detects changes to the file system resulting from operations such as copies, installs, or downloads.  If the file signature matches a known threat, the operation is blocked and the user is warned.  

The new service features dynamic communication with Microsoft's Dynamic Signature Service, which update the malware signature list regularly.  It also request copies of code that it suspects may be a new piece of malware.  Alan Packer, general manager of Microsoft's Anti-Malware team says the service publishes new signatures three times daily.

He describes, "The hope is that people who install Security Essentials and enable auto updates in their Windows configuration will be protected.  We don't see Security Essentials as a direct competitor to other free products and suites.  We're targeting people who aren't protected (already)."

The service is also designed for efficiency, running major scans when the computer is idle and saving memory during times of active use.  Mr. Packer suggests users with an antivirus program skip the new software, which could interfere with the third party AV software.  Unlike its non-free competitors and the former OneCare suite, the new service will not provide managed firewalls, performance-tuning, backup and restore, printer-sharing and multi-PC management.

AVG, maker of the current most widespread antivirus freeware, also does not offer these features, but says its software is still better than Microsoft's.  It says that its products can work on a variety of OS's, not just Windows, and that unlike Microsoft it was founded as a dedicated security company. 

The new Microsoft software will run on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 computers.  It currently supports English and Portuguese (in support of a deployment in Brazil).  A Simplified Chinese language version will be released later in the year.

According to a discussion with CNET, Microsoft doesn't have big plans to offer similar services for its upcoming Windows Mobile 7, for smart phones.  States Mr. Packer, "In general, the way we look at mobile from a security standpoint is that you are better off preventing the malware from getting on a mobile device rather than trying to run anti-malware or antivirus software.  We haven't targeted mobile antivirus software because we felt that's not the right approach."





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Haha...
By TemjinGold on 6/19/2009 10:27:17 AM , Rating: 5
"AVG, maker of the current most widespread antivirus freeware, also does not offer these features, but says its software is still better than Microsoft's."

MS's isn't even released yet and AVG feels the need to come out and say "We're better than you." A bit of umm... insecurity there?




RE: Haha...
By Visual on 6/19/2009 10:35:28 AM , Rating: 2
last time i used their app it was crappier than both avira and avast, the only two choices for a free av that i would consider today. it's been a while so it may have improved by now, but i am skeptical.


RE: Haha...
By Motoman on 6/19/2009 12:41:19 PM , Rating: 1
I've been using AVG on a huge number of PCs for many, many years. I have never had any cause to have a complaint about it. And I have no desire to ever try anything else, since AVG has been 100% perfect for many, many years.


RE: Haha...
By Obujuwami on 6/19/2009 12:53:42 PM , Rating: 5
Obviously you missed AVG 8.0 and the problems with that. Lots of false positives to the point where it detected systems needed by Windows as malware.

8.5 is SIGNIFICANTLY better than 8.0. We use it in our workplace and I administrate my 4 networks, of about 800 computers total, from the servers using the AVG admin console (which has gotten must nicer and easier to use as well)


RE: Haha...
By Motoman on 6/19/09, Rating: -1
RE: Haha...
By TomZ on 6/19/2009 1:34:37 PM , Rating: 3
LOL, glad you have a warm fuzzy about your favorite AV software. Did you happen to read the AV software comparison report that another poster gave the link for?

http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/stories/test...

That shows AVG as not being among the top - in fact it is in the middle of the pack. So what you consider "perfect" is in reality only average with other programs far outperforming it.


RE: Haha...
By Motoman on 6/19/2009 2:11:54 PM , Rating: 3
K, well, that must be a different "reality" from the one I live in, which is the reality in which AVG has neither caused nor allowed any problems in a very long time. I guess you would prefer me to ignore the years of experience I have had with a product, and instead switch products because of someone else's opinion? Because that would make sense.


RE: Haha...
By aatnet on 6/19/09, Rating: 0
RE: Haha...
By Motoman on 6/19/09, Rating: -1
RE: Haha...
By jonmcc33 on 6/23/2009 8:10:32 AM , Rating: 2
I had AVG 7.5 on a home file server. A virus that I downloaded ended up ripping right through my file server. It infected many running processes INCLUDING the AVG process. Nothing like an AV program saying that itself is infected and there's nothing it can do to clean.

So not only did AVG fail to protect me by preventing me from downloading the file to begin with but it also failed to protect from getting anything else infected and cleaning anything. Worst AV program I have ever used.

I quickly switched to Avast, which has anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-rootkit built-in for free. I have never had a problem since switching to it and it has preventing me from downloading bad files numerous times. It even stopped Antivirus 2009 from wanting to install.

AVG is horrible and maybe you just aren't browsing the web enough to see how bad it actually is.


RE: Haha...
By Motoman on 6/24/2009 10:52:23 AM , Rating: 2
Mmm, that must be it. Because the couple hundred or so PCs that I've built over the past few years and installed AVG on are all used by people who don't use the internet much.

You had a bad experience, and I'm sorry to hear about it. I personally, and my friends/family/customers, have had problems with McAfee, Norton, and Symantec. Since no one has ever had a problem with AVG that I support, I have never tried Avast, so I have no anecdotal evidence for you. The only experience I can share with you is a zero-failure experience with AVG over a couple undred computers for the past several years.

So you can hold on to your theories about how maybe I just don't "browse the web enough."


RE: Haha...
By Lifted on 6/19/2009 4:03:48 PM , Rating: 3
I can't even count the number of people who have asked me to fix their computers because they thought they had a virus while running AVG. Their computers were usually completed owned by so many different trojans and rootkits, most of them YEARS old, that I've never seen AVG as anything more than a black hats wet dream.


RE: Haha...
By teohhanhui on 6/20/2009 1:37:18 AM , Rating: 3
Totally agreed. AVG is sub-par compared to the other free anti virus programs although it's much more popular.


RE: Haha...
By Ryanman on 6/21/2009 2:28:42 PM , Rating: 1
I believe that AVG 7 was THE AV to have when it was out. File hippo is great for getting that version today even. The main reason I used it (I only scan twice a year or something) was because it was the lightest AV program, in terms of system resources I could find.
8.0 brought a host of new stuff that just bogged down my computer, so I switched to Avira. But AVG was absolutely perfect for me when I had it - no false positives, and it actually ran in the background.


RE: Haha...
By teohhanhui on 6/20/2009 1:35:02 AM , Rating: 2
Objective test results are not someone else's opinion.


RE: Haha...
By Obujuwami on 6/19/2009 2:49:01 PM , Rating: 3
I hate to burst your bubble TomZ, but their test clearly states that they are using AVG 8.0, not 8.5 which has been significantly tweaked to fix many of the 8.0 errors, including the false positive problems AND had been out for at least 3 months before the test was published. Though I can only speculate on if the test was done now, I think AVG would place higher than it did.

On top of that, their test rates false positives and clearly states that AVG has 15+ false positives. I would like to point out that it was well known that AVG 8.0 had false positive problems that (According to AVG and from my own personal tests) have been fixed in AVG 8.5.

To really hammer home the point, only 4 of 12 of the AV clients tested caught 50% or more of the malware downloaded to these systems right away. AVG did 45% (given the fact that it had such a high false positive readings, as stated in the test and were penalized appropriately) which is still 10% better than Symantec and 20% better than McAfee.

I also looked up many of the AV builds they used and it was not entirely fair. Some of the clients used had been updated days or weeks before, others months. Considering the revision of this test is May 27th, 2009 and some of the agents tested were months out of compliance, I would say that the test should be taken with a grain of salt.

Reports are only useful if the data is current, or in this situation, the client is current. Having some clients current and others not shows a serious lack of consistency in the test and we should honestly question the test. I suggest that Daily Tech do its OWN test with current AV clients and see what the difference is. It maybe the same but I suspect things will have changed.

I was a bit disturbed to learn that Sophos did worse than AVG did as I have it on my eMacs at one of my sites. This makes me worry about the protection of those eMacs....

Anyways, to summarize:
1) The test should be taken with a grain of salt due to the fact that the software was not all current.
2) AVG is not as bad as your making it out to be as 8.5 has addressed many of the issues 8.0 had.
3) Don't choose your AV client based on reports. Companies PAY to get better ratings in reports half the time.


RE: Haha...
By Frejk on 6/22/2009 2:12:19 AM , Rating: 2
You linked only the second part of that report which covers the comparison of unknown threat detection. The first part that I think is more substantial, is here - http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/stories/test...


RE: Haha...
By cubby1223 on 6/20/2009 1:51:58 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Obviously you missed AVG 8.0 and the problems with that. Lots of false positives to the point where it detected systems needed by Windows as malware.

I've put AVG on many computers, even on systems of many businesses. Not a single one ever had a problem with false positives destroying Windows.

People like you just exaggerate for, whatever reason I haven't a clue...


RE: Haha...
By GlassHouse69 on 6/19/2009 4:28:03 PM , Rating: 3
Your computer is a SEWER of viruses and trojan, I am certain of this.

Avast ripped out 4 backdoors from one machine that used AVG only and had minimal internet/fun use.

The only program that cleaned all of the drives I have ever had is Clamwin. which is free and is a few megs.

best firewall is Sygate. sad how free and minimalistic programs trounce the bloated 70 dollar ones.

Avast was awesome at blocking and cleaning contaminated websites. It fires off once a week just about, something avg never did or does.

avg is crap.


RE: Haha...
By cubby1223 on 6/20/2009 1:58:51 AM , Rating: 3
*sigh*

You name an anti-virus software, and I have cleaned up such a computer loaded with boatloads of bad things along with that anti-virus software. Norton, McAfee, Avast, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, AVG, etc. None of them are perfect. Are you seriously that intellectually challenged to realize this?

There is no single software that can clean/protect every computer 100%. To clean it takes utilities that do generic scans reporting possibilities and an experienced user to decipher what's good and what's bad.


RE: Haha...
By frobizzle on 6/22/2009 8:51:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
best firewall is Sygate

Hardly. Although it has been a few years since I last looked at Sygate, it was not impressive back then.

Comodo makes a very good (and free!) firewall.


RE: Haha...
By AstroCreep on 6/19/2009 8:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
It appears that no one in the security-software game are afraid. The most common thing I hear is (paraphrasing) "You mean the company that makes an insecure operating system is making a security suite to protect it? We're not scared of that.".

My view is "It's free, so it's worth a spin. If it sucks, it gets uninstalled".


RE: Haha...
By DeepBlue1975 on 6/21/2009 4:14:10 PM , Rating: 2
I used AVG for years, worked great in xp and vista...

But now that I'm using windows 7RC1 on all of my home pcs, I had to remove it because it's quite a resource hog, slows the machine down to a crawl in some specific operations (opening videos with KMPlayer being the most annoying one to me), so I had to drop it.

Now I've started paying for NOD32 and couldn't be happier. It's not free but it's great...
I might try MicroSoft's solution some day.


worst AV
By Screwballl on 6/19/2009 11:24:02 AM , Rating: 2
Considering Microsoft's programs have been rated consistently as some of the worst "legal" security programs out there (OneCare, Windows Firewall), why would this one be any different? Have a look at the reports on http://www.av-comparatives.org/
Avira has been rated as one of the best for many years now and I see no need to run anything else. It runs on every Windows OS at this point in time from Win2000 to Win7.




RE: worst AV
By lailin on 6/19/2009 11:42:09 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the link, according their latest report http://www.av-comparatives.org/images/stories/test...

OnceCare beat Avira, and was highest rated together with NOD32 and Kaspersky


RE: worst AV
By Screwballl on 6/19/2009 12:05:58 PM , Rating: 3
you read something wrong...
That is just one test, the Proactive/Retrospective test (testing with new "wild" viruses and malware). Looking at the detection rates:

Avira = 69%
Microsoft = 60%
Kaspersky = 50%

Look at the on-demand testing:

Avira = 99.7%
Microsoft = 87.1%
Kaspersky = 97.1%

I don't bother looking at "awards" as those are subject to opinion (as they also state themselves) rather than the hard and proven testing numbers as I have shown here.

Also if you look at the performance reviews, Avira is towards the top of the pack there as well.


RE: worst AV
By TomZ on 6/19/2009 1:41:15 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that Avira looks very good, but you have to also give a lot of weight to the difference in false positives. In that area, Avira reported "many" false positives while OneCare reported "Very Few."

False positives are pretty annoying since they can cause you to waste time and effort trying to fix a problem that doesn't really exist. False positives undermine the usability and trust you have in a particular AV package.


RE: worst AV
By jvillaro on 6/19/2009 5:08:26 PM , Rating: 2
Avira looks good but I can't get over the fact that it doesn't integrate to outlook. AVG and Avast do. If Microsoft does its a "selling" pont for me.


RE: worst AV
By arazok on 6/19/2009 2:37:23 PM , Rating: 2
When OneCare was initially released it had a pretty dismal library of virus signatures, and this was reflected in the reports.

By the time version 2.0 came out, they had mostly caught up. At this point, I’d say it holds up pretty well against any of the major offerings out there. It’s certainly not the best, but it’s not bad by any measure.


Sure, why not
By fownde on 6/19/2009 10:13:19 AM , Rating: 2
Definitely going to give this a shot. Running the Win7 beta so why not beta another MS software with it. I'm also too cheap to buy antivirus, so free is good for me.

It mentions that it doesn't let you manage firewalls, but wouldn't the Windows firewall make up for that? Though maybe not as strong as some antivirus firewalls I'm guessing.




RE: Sure, why not
By callmeroy on 6/19/2009 11:23:10 AM , Rating: 2
I'll give this a shot for my laptops (I have a couple at home), for my main desktop PC though I'll stick with another one that is free to me...McAfee...as a comcast customer its provided to me for no additional cost. So why not use a more feature rich-than-free product if its um....free?


RE: Sure, why not
By RjBass on 6/19/2009 12:13:05 PM , Rating: 4
Because McCafe is a horrible program on it's own.


RE: Sure, why not
By Obujuwami on 6/19/2009 12:49:08 PM , Rating: 2
Well, considering that McAfee is seen by the general computing world as craptastic software, I think (and hope) Microsoft's software will probabilly trump your AV client in many fields.

MS's original (and dare I say almost successful) first attempt at free security software, Microsoft Anti-spyware(name?), went ok....until it timed out. I know customers of mine liked it to the point where they dropped their paid anti-spyware solution and worked with this. They also adopted AVG free (illegally I might add, AVG free is licensed for personal use only and not business/government use) which freed up a lot of system rescources to help them work faster.

I hope that this software does work well and, assuming that it works, I hope that MS releases a more robust version of it for network/DMZ server use.


RE: Sure, why not
By frobizzle on 6/22/2009 8:57:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well, considering that McAfee is seen by the general computing world as craptastic software, I think (and hope) Microsoft's software will probabilly trump your AV client in many fields.

I think you hit the nail on the head there. My company (a Fortune 500 company) uses the McAfee dog crap-ware exclusively. Microsoft is apparently targeting their anti-virus to this type of client, the corporate IT. Most everyone else will stick to the better solutions, AVG , AVAST, Nod32, etc.


EU
By Tsunami982 on 6/19/09, Rating: 0
RE: EU
By TomZ on 6/19/2009 10:57:39 AM , Rating: 3
No, the EU can't complain if this new AV software is a free download and not part of the OS installation.


RE: EU
By tmouse on 6/19/2009 10:58:02 AM , Rating: 1
Do not know why you were rated down, unlike the browser crap if they bundle this with the OS it probably could cause trouble for them even in the US.


RE: EU
By TomZ on 6/19/2009 1:38:20 PM , Rating: 3
The OP was rated down because Microsoft never stated they would include their new AV software with Windows. Your argument is moot.


Why not just give away OneCare?
By arazok on 6/19/2009 10:16:17 AM , Rating: 2
I’m going to miss OneCare’s ability to report the status of all my PC’s running OneCare from a single hub PC. I have 12 friends and family under a single license, and I love being able to monitor them for viruses remotely.

I don’t understand why Microsoft didn’t just release OneCare as is. Why dumb it down for a free offering?




RE: Why not just give away OneCare?
By The0ne on 6/19/2009 11:08:25 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know but "free" attracts people like mad :)


RE: Why not just give away OneCare?
By BPB on 6/19/2009 3:02:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I’m going to miss OneCare’s ability to report the status of all my PC’s running OneCare from a single hub PC. I have 12 friends and family under a single license, and I love being able to monitor them for viruses remotely.
Windows Home Server does an even better job if you have some hardware you can install it on.


Bloat be gone
By Ammohunt on 6/19/2009 3:27:01 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Unlike its non-free competitors and the former OneCare suite, the new service will not provide managed firewalls, performance-tuning, backup and restore, printer-sharing and multi-PC management.


Exactly what i need! Bloat-free AV. the big AV companies could learn alot from Microsoft.




"you are better off preventing"
By oTAL on 6/19/2009 11:15:26 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
States Mr. Packer, "In general, the way we look at mobile from a security standpoint is that you are better off preventing the malware from getting on a mobile device rather than trying to run anti-malware or antivirus software. We haven't targeted mobile antivirus software because we felt that's not the right approach."


True, and valid for any and all OSs, mobile or not!
If you believe the performance/battery tradeoff is not worth it for mobile devices than state so. Don't throw us lame ass excuses.




Good News
By initialised on 6/19/2009 9:13:05 PM , Rating: 2
My wife will be installing this on her laptop on Tuesday, I'm going to stick with AVG on my gaming rig and media centre unless it has a significantly lower CPU/RAM footprint. Anyone else noticed how AVG 8.5 is multi threaded unlike 7.x?




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