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 5:38:02 PM , Rating: 2
To the best of my knowledge that might be Virus Bulletin... They're one of those companies that you can publish their "award". They might be fully above board, but there is some advertising on their site.

AV Comparatives is a non-profit organization. Their testing methodology is also published in a 26 page PDF file. They also do the Consumer Reports model of no adverts.

I'd call them the most transparent resource for AV products out there. If they were biased, it would be news to me, since the companies with the most cash are good on some things, but never consistently near the top, across the board.

RE: Very nice...
By jonmcc33 on 9/29/2009 7:07:18 PM , Rating: 2
Ah yes...

Under "Fees", vendors (AV software companies) must pay fees quarterly. Being a profit based company is shady in my book.

Looks like they have updated their document. They have removed a part of the FAQ that asked about details of the malware they tested for. In the past they have said they would not release the names of any of the viruses/malware in their samples. AFAIK it seems as if they still do not.

Good to know that they supposedly test actual samples now as opposed to just testing it against some sort of database. Still unsure of the exact files they test as it is never indicated other than "a few million".

I have never found AV-Comparatives to be a reliable resource and still stand upon that opinion.

RE: Very nice...
By ChristopherO on 9/29/2009 11:32:27 PM , Rating: 2
Under "Fees", vendors (AV software companies) must pay fees quarterly. Being a profit based company is shady in my book.

The entirety of page 14 is about their policy, which seems to be fairly adequate given that they are a substantial organization with significant costs. Given their stated ethics I'm sure they would prefer to charge for a published report and leave vendors out of it, but unlike a certain popular consumer magazine, they probably couldn't get enough people interested to cover their testing. Their FAQ also recommends numerous other testing centers, so they have no particular ego.

It looks like the Virus Bulletin guys are also well regarded. Doing some research they seem okay. Never felt the need to use them however.

You know, I'm struggling to remember the name of an AV product in the 90s that was hailed as revolutionary, but was ultimately one of the first AV scam products. It had a "drive armor" feature that would literally create a file that would fill every open block of disk space (novel, but obviously pretty crazy). It was from a guy in Israel and was absolutely hammered on USENET (alt.comp.anti-virus) sadly I can't find an archive that dates back far enough so I can find the name. One of the big early researchers, Vesselin Bontchev would write about it, and it was quite funny to read the posts. I'd hate to see him get worked-up at all the "scareware" going around now.

Gosh I feel old.

RE: Very nice...
By ChristopherO on 9/29/2009 11:40:25 PM , Rating: 2
InVircible. The name just came to me. The software is still around today, but sheesh, the storm it caused on USENET was amusing. The publisher claims it uses "generic technology" that doesn't require updates. That along with the disk armor thing is probably why people went nuts.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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