Microsoft has made significant investments over the past few years in the research of malicious software (or malware) and in developing technology to help customers mitigate the security risk that it creates. As part of this investment, Microsoft has built a dedicated Antimalware team that is responsible for researching malicious software, spyware, and other potentially unwanted software as well as the release and maintenance of the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) and Windows Defender. The team also supplies the core antimalware technology (including the scanning engine and malware definition updates) to products such as Windows Live OneCare, Windows Live Safety Center Beta, Microsoft Antigen, and the upcoming Microsoft Client Security release.
Microsoft delivered the first version of the MSRT on January 13, 2005 in 24 languages to users of Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 computers. The tool is designed to help identify and remove prevalent malware from customer machines and is available at no charge to licensed Windows users. As of the writing of this report, Microsoft has shipped 15 additional, enhanced versions of the tool and continues to ship a new version on the second Tuesday of each month, each adding new prevalent malware to detect and remove. Since the initial release of the MSRT, the tool has been executed approximately 2.7 billion times by at least 270 million unique computers. This report provides an in-depth perspective of the malware landscape based on the data collected by the MSRT, and highlights the impact that the MSRT has had in reducing the impact of malware on Windows users. Key insights from the data are summarized below and are covered in greater detail in the paper.Read Full Story