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Microsoft makes waves with free AV

01 Oct 2009

[UPDATED] Symantec responded to today’s release of Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE), the new free antivirus software offered by Microsoft, and said the product isn’t adequate for modern-day threats.security_keyboardantivirus.jpgIn a statement, Symantec said: “While we applaud any vendor that heightens consumer awareness of the need for computer security, it’s clear that the threat landscape has moved on from the product Microsoft is launching.”The statement also said that MSE is a reconfigured version of previous Microsoft software: “Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is a stripped-down version of their old OneCare product, which was poorly rated by industry experts and users alike.”Symantec said that today’s threats often escape traditional signature-based technology, which is what is employed by free tools such as Microsoft’s, and according to Symantec the beta version of MSE scored poorly in lab tests.According to the statement: “In an August 2009 head-to-head test conducted by Dennis Technology Lab between Norton AntiVirus 2009 and MSE (beta), it’s clear that the Microsoft tool falls short of protecting against today’s aggressive malware and zero-day threats.”Symantec added: “Norton nearly doubled the protection provided by MSE in malware detection, scoring an 80 compared to MSE’s 44.”The Dennis Technology Lab’s Accuracy scoring system awards two points for blocking exploits altogether, one point for letting an exploit onto a system but then successfully neutralizing it, and deducts two points for every exploit that compromises a system.[UPDATE] A Microsoft spokesperson has hit back and said that MSE is not a stripped-down version of the Microsoft OneCare product.According to the spokesperson, “MSE is built to address market changes and consumer needs and includes real-time antivirus, antispyware and core anti-malware functionality while utilising fewer computing resources.”The spokesperson also said that the product has performed strongly in independent laboratory testing and has been certified for anti-malware protection by West Coat Labs.Microsoft also said the tool is not based solely on signature technology and is automatically updated to ensure that signatures, the anti-malware engine and the application are always up to date.Visit Chillisoft's blog here to find more about ESET's view on MSE.