Microsoft releases free security software

mseMicrosoft today released Microsoft Security Essentials Version 1.0, anti-virus and spyware protection software for computers running on the Windows operating system. 

Security Essentials and all automatic updates will be free of charge and no registration is required.

So why is the company giving away software that companies such as Symantec and McAfee charge for? Microsoft says Essentials is for the consumers who want the protection but are either unwilling or unable to pay for it. By giving it away, Microsoft says it’s fulfilling the organizations “ongoing commitment to provide a more trustworthy computing experience for all customers.”

The company is also hoping that by making its product easy to get and easy to use, it will encourage broader adoption of anti-virus software.

After the announcement, firms such as Symantec which charge an annual fee for anti-virus were critical of the Microsoft product. 

“Microsoft Security Essentials is a stripped-down version of their old (Windows Live) OneCare product which was poorly rated by industry experts and users alike. From a security perspective, this Microsoft tool offers reduced defenses at a critical point in the battle against cyber crime.” said a spokesperson for Symantec to MSNBC news.

Microsoft counters by saying that Security Essentials is not One Care repackaged rather it is a new product that makes use of the company’s new Dynamic Signature Service, a technology the company says ensures users stay protected by the most current virus definitions available without having to wait for the next scheduled download. 

In preliminary testing done over the summer, AV-Test GmbH, a leading service provider for IT security testing, told Computerworld that Microsoft Security Essentials properly detected and treated 3,200 common viruses and performed well in security tests. 

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) will be available for Windows XP SP2 or SP3, Windows Vista and Windows 7 including Windows XP mode on both x32 and x64 PCs.  MSE will be available in eight languages and 19 countries including Canada and the United States. 

Get more information and download the software here.

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