Microsoft releases Security Essentials antimalware tool

Microsoft says security software plus Windows Firewall a powerful combo

In the works for some time, Microsoft finally confirms that the Security Essentials antimalware software is available for download.

Microsoft Security Essentials, the company's new antimalware software, was made available for download Tuesday.

The release of the software, which was code-named Morro, has been rumored for days, before Bob Muglia, the president of Microsoft's server and tools division, announced the release date Monday during an interview with Network World and CIO Magazine.

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"The combination of Windows Firewall and Security Essentials provides you with pretty complete coverage," Muglia said.

Security Essentials is a malware scanning engine and is targeted at consumers running Windows. It shares technology with Microsoft's Forefront Client Security desktop, an enterprise tool that can be centrally managed; however, Essentials provides only detection and removal of malware and lacks central management capabilities.

Security Essentials, first announced in November 2008, is a combination of technologies acquired via the acquisitions of Giant and Sybari. The engine is a replacement for an online service Microsoft operated called Live OneCare.

"We decided to discontinue OneCare and focus instead on something that was much, much broader in its offering," Muglia said. We are excited about it. It has received some great reviews."

A Network World review in August gave the software a middle-of-the-road review saying "the app's ability to detect and block malware was neither especially good nor particularly bad." The review said Security Essentials did well in proactive tests, did not record any false positives, and received a perfect score overall in detecting and cleaning rootkits and malware infections. The review, however, noted a slow scan speed, but qualified the remark by noting it was beta software and that performance could change before release.

The software is supported on Windows XP, Vista and 7.

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