Microsoft Security Essentials Goes Into Beta Next Week

You might recall that I posted a story about Microsoft coming out with free security software “real soon now.” Well, the software appears in beta form next week according to the Associated Press:

The program, Microsoft Security Essentials, is designed to find and kill malicious software that can steal passwords and other personal information or turn PCs into spam distribution hubs.

Once the PC security software is installed, Microsoft said it will download updated lists of identified malware daily, but will keep a low profile unless it detects dangerous software.

Okay. That sounds interesting. I suppose I’ll toss it onto a PC when it does appear and see what it does. But so far, I don’t see any need to change from what I’m using now. There is a bit of a twist to this though. Microsoft doesn’t want companies like Symantec and McAfee to go out of business just because they’re entering this market:

Security Essentials will compete with rival subscription programs from McAfee Inc. and Symantec Corp., and with several other free packages. But [Theresa] Burch [Director of their security team] said Microsoft isn’t going after those company’s customers — instead, the goal is to improve security overall by getting people who don’t have current antivirus software to protect their PCs.

In fact, it’s important that Microsoft’s competitors stay in business, Burch said.

“If there was only one solution out there addressing threats, all the malicious software developers out there would have a very easy target,” she said.

That’s something that I’m not used to seeing from the company who came up with “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish.” Perhaps they’ve turned over a new leaf? That would almost be too good.

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