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MS releases free Security Essentials

MS releases free Security Essentials

The new Security Essentials from Microsoft offers anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware free of charge.

If you're running Windows, you need security software - it's as simple as that. Thankfully, Microsoft has stepped up to the plate and released its own package - Security Essentials.

As reported over on TechRadar, the package - which is provided to all Windows users free of charge - offers protection against viruses, spyware, and various other malicious programs under the catch-all banner of 'malware.'

The package - which is available for immediate download - is provided completely free of charge, and offers automated updates from Microsoft to ensure that the protection stays up to date. While some may question the wisdom of trusting the company that made the security holes in the software to protect those holes against attack, early reviews and previews from the beta suggest that it's a pretty comprehensive protection suite - and at approximately 6MB of memory while running in the background, it's fairly lightweight too.

Although Microsoft offers the suite without cost to users of "genuine Windows," business users are still expected to fork out for the paid-for Forefront Client Security, which offers unified reporting and central management facilities missing from Security Essentials.

Amy Barzdukas, general manager for consumer security at the company, said that its customers have told Microsoft "that they want the protection of real-time security software, but that they are confused by trials and renewals and concerned about performance and as a result, too many are unprotected. With Microsoft Security Essentials, consumers can get high quality protection that is easy-to-get, easy-to-use, and won't get in the way."

The move is likely to anger security software vendors who have made a living for years protecting Microsoft's operating system: with a completely free solution from as big a name as Microsoft, it becomes so much harder to sell a £39.99-a-year anti-virus package to end users.

Will you be trusting Microsoft to protect your Windows installation, or do you think that a third-party option would be a better choice - even if Security Essentials is free? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

30 Comments

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DragunovHUN 30th September 2009, 13:57 Quote
Hahahahh. Great move, Microsoft!

I wonder what the EU will have to say about this though.
BentAnat 30th September 2009, 14:00 Quote
I run the beta next to Avast Home. They don't conflict, and MSE is actually less obtrusive than avast...
Redbeaver 30th September 2009, 14:05 Quote
on a recent comment from MS, they said they don't wanna compete with full-fledge antivirus softwares.... so maybe thats a good thing. or....
V3ctor 30th September 2009, 14:09 Quote
Another fine is coming... :D
Omnituens 30th September 2009, 14:16 Quote
Why would they be fined? the package is optional isnt it?
Aterius Gmork 30th September 2009, 14:29 Quote
Why all this MS hate since the IE trial? The EU Version of Win 7 is hardly MS' fault, is it? It's free, lightweight, unobtrusive (unlike Norton, AVG, GData, McAfee), there is no renewal ad and it surely won't delete svchoost.dll like Antivir did.
Fizzl 30th September 2009, 14:29 Quote
This is a very good move by MS and since they did well with defender I'll be giving this a go instead of AVG.

It's interesting to note the reason for making your malware suit free:
Home users are a good thermometer for what's going on around the Internet in terms of new new threats and trends. Making it free will gives you a much larger user base from that you can gather data from. This information is then used to make your business proposition more effective which happens to be where the real money is!

I don't think MS are going to get finned on this one because there are already lots of free solutions out there using the free for home users model.
Tris 30th September 2009, 15:43 Quote
well, my kaspersky license ran out literally today, so this seems like a good time for me to check this out and avoid another £30 on renewing. Hopefully it will do everything I need and stop me having to pay a third party to fix problems left by MS.
l3v1ck 30th September 2009, 16:11 Quote
Sounds good. I'll use that when I build my dad a new PC when Windows 7 comes out.
DarkLord7854 30th September 2009, 17:35 Quote
Ooh... totally putting this on all the computers at home (cept mine)
Baz 30th September 2009, 18:14 Quote
finally, all those people who ask me "what anti-virus should I use" will get an easy answer. GJ MS!
Shagbag 30th September 2009, 18:54 Quote
MS issues anti-viral software for its own operating system. What a joke.
Darth_yoda 30th September 2009, 18:59 Quote
The only anti-Malware systems I recommend anyone use are:
Sunbelt Software's Vipre http://www.vipreantivirus.com/
Eset's Nod 32 http://www.eset.co.uk/

I haven't personally tried Security essentials but I have heard from the master of security Steve Gibson that it is pretty good. Saying that I would advise going with a company that is specialised in the security industry, Microsoft as we all know isn't the best company when it comes to security.
DarkLord7854 30th September 2009, 19:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darth_yoda
I haven't personally tried Security essentials but I have heard from the master of security Steve Gibson that it is pretty good. Saying that I would advise going with a company that is specialised in the security industry, Microsoft as we all know isn't the best company when it comes to security.

Except they know their system in and out, and their program won't delete windows-essential files/settings, they'll also be able to more accurately target infected files and integrate more seamlessly with the OS.
Darth_yoda 30th September 2009, 19:06 Quote
You make a fair point there sir!
Darth_yoda 30th September 2009, 19:13 Quote
Well I must say that I tried Windows Defender and didn't perticularly like it. Whenever it was installed on any machine I owned, strange things started happening, random crashes here and there. Also I just found that pay for software was far better at detecting anything as opposed to Windows defender. But yea I will reserve my judgement until I have had experience with this new offering from Microsoft.
yodasarmpit 30th September 2009, 19:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagbag
MS issues anti-viral software for its own operating system. What a joke.
Would you care to expand on that comment, maybe offer more than a blanket opinion.
What in particular makes you believe it's a joke?
MiNiMaL_FuSS 30th September 2009, 22:35 Quote
I currently use Nod32 but my lisence is due to expire in the near future.

If i pick up Win7 for £30 and the MS security package for nothing I'd actually save money by porting over to a new win7 setup.

Anyoen care to comment on how good this suit is...obv i expect nod to be better, but if this is anywhere near it I'll think about ti seriously.
Bauul 1st October 2009, 00:16 Quote
Just tried it: it bloody isn't 6Mb, try more like 60! But I'm on XP without Windows Defender installed, and it appears to share some processes (MsMpEng.exe for instance), and it's this that's 60Mb. It's currently the highest memory using process I have open. Worth bearing in mind for none Defender users (not that there'll be many after Win7 comes out)
Saivert 1st October 2009, 03:44 Quote
All operating systems have bugs (which some call holes). There is no joke in the fact that MS offers anti-virus. They have in fact provided anti-malware tools for a long time and you have Windows Defender in Vista.

And this has been a much less of a problem since UAC entered the stage. UAC saved my ass one time (and not some anti-virus software). Also most of the time I don't really need anti-virus because I don't download crap. But I do run certain hmm.hmm software from time to time which requires me to have anti-virus installed. Previously I've run a system with no security software installed whatsoever for months without issues. Call it good luck, or good wisdom.
glaeken 1st October 2009, 09:48 Quote
It really needs a custom actions property after a scan is completed. Like oh I don't know, shutdown or run an external program like any respectable anti-virus. Besides that it seems pretty nice.
Shagbag 1st October 2009, 12:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Microsoft security is a joke. It always has been. They've always had a policy of backwards-compatibility is more important than security. Given Windows' roots as a stand-alone OS devoid of a network stack, this policy has caused numerous problems and many man-hours of lost productivity due to viral infections.

Microsoft finally broke free of their 'backwards-compatibility' mantra with Vista. But Vista is widely recognised as a dog of an OS and many users got fed up with the frequency of UAC pop-ups so they switched it off and, in doing so, threw out the single most important security feature.

Microsoft is soon to release Windows7 which they say (as they always say with every release) "is the most secure Windows yet". It's all relative. The exciting thing about W7 for the Black Hat community is 'XP Mode'. Microsoft has recognised the embarrasment that was UAC and fine-tuned it so that it's not so annoying and users won't switch it off. That's great, but what it's not telling users is that XP-Mode has left the back door unlocked.

Now Microsoft is coming out with its own anti-viral software. Oh great. It takes them over 12 months to patch ActiveX security holes in IE "but this is different, this time we really are focusing on security". Give me a break. Security is a process, not a product. And Microsoft has consistently proved to itself that it can continue to sell its products without having to worry about devoting any serious developer effort to security issues.

Security Essentials is, again, just Microsoft paying lip service to security concerns.
shanky887614 1st October 2009, 13:27 Quote
this is rubish,
ive had it since the beta

it is programed to use up less than 50% cpu capacity
and its as slow as hell

to scan my 50gb hdd partition on a sata 2 drive took 3 bloodyt hours

to scan that and my data partition that only has 250gb on it would take 12hours

come on microsoft you can do better than this
it is painstacinly slow its a good antivirus program except this only use this if you dont have a lot of data or you are willing to leave it to scan just before you go to work or school then select what to do when you get back
Comet 1st October 2009, 14:26 Quote
It just makes sense. Its their OS afterall. And they did something right here. It is lighweight, gives good protection and integrates well with the OS.
It is just what the home user wants. As for anti-virus companies. What did they expect? Their lucky enough that Microsoft hasn't integrated this into their OS by default. Something that in my opinion makes sense. It is about providing a more secured OS and protecting their reputation. Other companies do that. Why can't Microsoft do that? Microsoft has been flamed in the past for not providing enough security in their OS and they have focused on that for quite some time. Anti-virus companies may criticize this move, but fact is, they have been taking advantage of a market that shouldn't exist in the first place. Their focus should always be in the enterprise level. The home user should have enough basic protection with what the OS company can provide.
dyzophoria 1st October 2009, 14:31 Quote
good for MS for trying atleast to be honest, since MS did say they are not competing with anything, and only released this to help their customers, you are still free to download anything else, its not like MS is forcing you to use it if you really feel MS security is a joke (tbh nowadays everything has a security joke attached to their software) I dont see the reason to shove this product up MS's ass
eddtox 1st October 2009, 14:40 Quote
Sounds good to me. Defender works fine and McAfee SecurityCenter drives me mad. Do you reckon it will use less sys res than McA? Can you get it for XP?
Darth_yoda 1st October 2009, 17:20 Quote
It is well known that Norton and Mcafee products are extremely bloated and end up grinding the computer to a halt rather than help the computer. In my opinion it is best to steer clear of the "security suites" as these tend to be really heavy on system resources. Try and buy security products from companies that are specialised in a perticular area, best of breed software if you will.
DarkLord7854 1st October 2009, 17:24 Quote
Norton's been doing better lately, however they're still crap :p

I'm rather liking the MS suite, got it on 2 of the comps at home and it's a lot less load on the system than AVG. +rep to MS
eddtox 7th October 2009, 14:50 Quote
Just removed McAffee Security suite and installed this. Shaved about 30 seconds off my boot time! So far so good.
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