Print 53 comment(s) - last by jonmcc33.. on Sep 30 at 8:10 PM

Microsoft releases its free antivirus suite

Microsoft first released a public beta of its Security Essentials antivirus suite back in June and it was met with mostly positive reviews. The public beta was only open for the first 75,000 downloaders and that limit was reached rather quickly.

Today, however, Microsoft has released the final version of Security Essentials and anyone running Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 can download it for free. Microsoft Security Essentials offers basic antivirus, spyware, and malware protection -- it also offers real-time protection and regularly updated malware signature files via Microsoft's Dynamic Signature Service.

Since Microsoft Security Essentials provides the bare minimum protections for a Windows-based machine, other niceties such as a firewall and multi-PC management are not available. This should appease Microsoft's competitors in the anti-malware software segment.

Those who wish to try out the software can download it directly from the Microsoft Security Essentials website. The download requires that your PC pass Windows Genuine Advantage checks, so only legit Windows users will have access to the software.

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RE: Very nice...
By ChristopherO on 9/29/2009 3:40:37 PM , Rating: 3
Granted MSE might hit 99.9% of the common viruses, which is technically all you need to protect a computer. The third parties need to run the test suites to verify how things changed.

Oh, and in medicine there is a term called 'herd immunity'. It also applies to computer science. If you get enough people inoculated against, say the flu, you can't spread it because every person with the flu isn't likely to run into someone else capable of getting it. Computer AV software is the same way. Sure, you can still do some damage, but it's not going to be a big number (relative terms).

RE: Very nice...
By lco45 on 9/30/2009 1:33:31 AM , Rating: 3
Actually you've uncovered the most interesting point.

Herd immunity is going to be the biggest benefit of all. I know many many people who don't run AV, or get a 12 month subscription and don't renew.

Having a free, auto-installed AV like this will greatly increase the percentage of AV coverage in the average community, meaning viruses will die out before reaching unprotected computers.

Macs already take advantage of this, because viruses spread via address contacts, and most contacts in a mac users address book are Windows users, so Mac viruses have trouble spreading.


RE: Very nice...
By lco45 on 9/30/2009 1:36:53 AM , Rating: 1
And before someone says "there are no Mac viruses", the main reason there are so few is exactly the herd immunity enjoyed by Macs as a minority OS in a Windows world.

Virus writers don't bother with Macs because their viruses fizzle out too soon. In other words, herd immunity reduces the reward of writing viruses in the first place, which compounds the benefit to the community.


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