Microsoft AntiSpyware Shows Promise

By | January 11, 2005

Microsoft announced the beta release of Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware earlier this week, and the software has been received with a mixture of appreciation and dirision.

Industry experts have already pegged spyware as the major problem of the year – one few vendors have truly stepped up to address. As such, it is welcome to see Microsoft entering the market with such a strong product – recently acquired from GIANT Software – even if it is a product that is effectively designed to patch holes in Windows itself.

That said, the rush is on. McAfee and Symantec have both released anti-spyware tools, and CA, Webroot and Shavlik are all making moves in that arena very quickly.

Windows AntiSpyware (WAS) is designed to protect users from “techniques” that spyware makes use of, instead of the tried and a bit rusty method of maintaining massive databases of spyware and then searching for the sneaky buggers inside a user’s computer. As such, it has come against some interesting hurdles. Several VPN clients, for example, have been considered “Spyware” by WAS, as have several Microsoft applications.

But, that’s ultimately what betas are for.

“We want to get the beta out there to focus on customer feedback,” says Amy Carroll, director of Microsoft’s security business unit, adding that specific decisions about the final product haven´t been made.

Microsoft also released a malicious-software-removal tool on Jan. 11. The software will help users remove viruses and worms such as Blaster and Download.Ject from infected PCs.

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