Tag Archives: malicious software

Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool Focuses On Families – Malware Families, That Is

imageLike it or not, (what’s not to like), you get scanned once a month – provided that is, you update your Windows OS on the second Tuesday of each month (fondly known as Patch Tuesday).

Malware comes, and malware goes. Not all malware of course, but the majority of malware doesn’t stick around very long – just a few days in many cases. Still, with upwards of 300,000 new malware samples every day (according to some estimates), AV solutions could soon be overrun in the race to keep pace with this onslaught. Luckily, malware can often be be grouped by families (malware with inherited characteristics), and that’s where Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool specifically, comes into play.

The Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is updated monthly, is included with Patch Tuesday’s Windows Update and once activated – runs in the background targeting specific, prevalent malware families. If an infection is found, the tool will remove the malware (hopefully), and provide a report on any actions taken.

A list of malicious software detected and cleaned by the Malicious Software Removal Tool is available here.

If you wish, you can download and then run this tool manually, as required. The latest edition of the tool is always available at the Microsoft Download Center.

System requirements: Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows XP

You might wonder as to why Microsoft would make a point of including this AV scanner as part of Windows update. Here’s why (in my view) – an astonishingly large number of users don’t have any security applications installed or, an installed AV solution’s databases is rarely (if ever) updated.

If you take issue with this statement (and that’s fair), then test it by asking a typical user friend/s to name their AV application; tell you the last time they updated the database and, if they recall the last time they ran a malware scan. I think you’ll be disappointed with the response.

A website worth taking note of: Microsoft Consumer Security Support Center.

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Filed under 64 Bit Software, Anti-Malware Tools, Freeware, Malware Removal, Microsoft, Microsoft Patch Tuesday, Software, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Update

Round Two: Download Next Generation Microsoft Security Essentials In Beta

image Microsoft Security Essentials, which incorporates antivirus, antispyware and rootkit protection, all under one roof, was released by Microsoft last year as a free  replacement application for Windows Live OneCare. MSE was initially released in June 2009 in Beta, which was replaced by the final release in September 2009.

Microsoft has just released a Beta for the second generation Security Essentials, which includes a number of substantial additional features (see the following), and thankfully, a faster engine.

Note: This is a limited beta available in English (U.S.), Israel, and Brazilian Portuguese (the beta will also be available in China in Simplified Chinese later this year), and is available to genuine Windows users on a first come, first serve basis, until the allotted spots for the beta have been reached.

What’s New in the Microsoft Security Essentials beta?

This Beta version of Microsoft Security Essentials includes these new features and enhancements to better help protect your computer from threats.

Windows Firewall integration: Microsoft Security Essentials setup allows you to turn on Windows Firewall.

Enhanced protection from web-based threats: Microsoft Security Essentials has enhanced integration with Internet Explorer which helps prevent malicious scripts from running and provides improved protection against web based attacks.

New and improved protection engine: The updated engine offers enhanced detection and cleanup capabilities and better performance.

Installation was not straight forward. Since I was running the final release as my primary AV, the installer attempted to perform an upgrade. Bad idea! It simply did not work, and caused some cleanup issues I had to deal with.

After cleaning up the mess, I uninstalled the prior version using my trusty Revo Uninstaller, and then did a successful clean install rather than an upgrade.

I heard it through the grapevine that I’m not alone in having run into this upgrade issue. So, if you have MSE installed, uninstall first, and then perform a clean install of the new Beta.

image

This new Microsoft Security Essentials Beta just like the final release is easy to set up and run, (on a clean install), particularly for new users. And, the interface is positively simple offering Quick Scan, Full Scan, or Custom Scan.

A simple command interface:

image

A simple scan result screen – in this case a “clean” result:

image

A simple settings/options screen. If you have been running the generation one final version, you find a number of impressive changes here.

image

Overall impressions:

Microsoft Security Essentials, including this Beta release, is a no cost viable alternative to overhyped, and often overpriced, more familiar security applications.

A simple, intuitive, and easy to use interface makes Microsoft Security Essentials straightforward to setup, customize, and run, for both less experienced and expert users alike.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a first class security application; fast, efficient, and effective – particularly with the additional features in the Beta release.

Provides full real time protection against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Very few “free” security applications, provide full real time protection which makes such an application valuable, only as an on-demand secondary scanner.

The second generation Beta, is definitely worth a close look.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Vista x64, Win 7, Win 7 x64.

Download at: The Microsoft Connect Page (registration required).

Windows XP users: Please note that the network inspection system feature will not be enabled on Windows XP. The network inspection system requires the Windows Filtering Platform (WFP) in order to run, and WFP is available only in Windows Vista and Windows 7. However, if you are running Windows XP, you can still use all other beta features.

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Filed under Beta Software, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Microsoft, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Download Free Microsoft Security Essentials – You’ll be Glad You Did!

Today is the last day of a holiday weekend (Victoria Day – a celebration of our British heritage), here in Canada. So that yours truly can relax to the max, this article is a reposting of a previously published article.

image Microsoft Security Essentials, which incorporates antivirus, antispyware and rootkit protection, all under one roof, was released by Microsoft as a free  replacement application for the late, and unlamented, Windows Live OneCare.

I’ve been running Security Essentials for eight months, or so; first, as a beta tester, and now the final product, on my Win 7 machines. Backed up, of course, by Zemana AntiLogger, GeSWall, Immunet Protect,  and by my usual, on demand security applications, including Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware and SUPERAntiSpyware.

Testing this application under real world conditions, has reinforced my initial positive review of Microsoft Security Essentials.

So, I’ll just cut to the chase here:

Microsoft Security Essentials is a no cost viable alternative to overhyped, and often overpriced, more familiar security applications.

A simple, intuitive, and easy to use interface makes Microsoft Security Essentials straightforward to setup, customize, and run, for both less experienced and expert users alike.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a first class security application; fast, efficient, and effective.

Provides full real time protection against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Very few “free” security applications, provide full real time protection which makes such an application valuable, only as an on-demand secondary scanner.

A simple command interface:

MS Security Essentials

A simple settings/options screen:

MS Security Essentials 2

A simple scan result screen – in this case a “clean” result:

MS Security Essentials 3

Or, a potential threat warning screen – following an injection, in this case, of a malware file:

image

Fast facts:

Easy to set up and run, particularly for new users.

The interface is positively simple offering Quick Scan, Full Scan, or Custom Scan.

Scans all drives including removable drives, and creates a system restore point

Full real time protection against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

The Dynamic Signature Service (DSS), a technology that helps ensure users are protected by the most current virus definitions available, without having to wait for the next scheduled download, is a major positive step for the average user.

Using DSS, Security Essentials validates suspicious files in near real time – a huge advantage for average users.

Actions from unknown sources such as unexpected network connections, attempts to modify privileged parts of the system or the downloading of known malware, all trigger requests for updates from DSS – another major advantage for the average user.

Runs unobtrusively in the background with an easy to understand warning system. Green – you’re good to go. Yellow – caution. Red – action required.

Very lightweight in terms of system resource usage – as opposed to some security applications that are well known resource hogs.

Malware identification and removal, in my experience, has been much better than average in real time extended testing, and not just in a 30 minute wonder test!

Quick scans are very fast, but full scans are slightly slower than average. However, if I’m infected, fast or slow is not a personal consideration – detection and removal of malware is.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Vista x 64, Win  7, Win 7 x64

Download at: Microsoft

Microsoft Security Essentials is a first class security application; fast, efficient, and effective. I highly recommend that you take a close look at this program.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

31 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Microsoft, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Download Free Microsoft Security Essentials – Kill Malware DEAD!

image Microsoft Security Essentials, which incorporates antivirus, antispyware and rootkit protection, all under one roof, was released by Microsoft as a free  replacement application for the late, and unlamented, Windows Live OneCare.

I’ve been running Security Essentials for eight months, or so; first, as a beta tester, and now the final product, on my Win 7 machines. Backed up, of course, by my usual, on demand security applications, including Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware and SUPERAntiSpyware.

Testing this application under real world conditions, has reinforced my initial positive review of Microsoft Security Essentials.

So, I’ll just cut to the chase here:

Microsoft Security Essentials is a no cost viable alternative to overhyped, and often overpriced, more familiar security applications.

A simple, intuitive, and easy to use interface makes Microsoft Security Essentials straightforward to setup, customize, and run, for both less experienced and expert users alike.

Microsoft Security Essentials is a first class security application; fast, efficient, and effective.

Provides full real time protection against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Very few “free” security applications, provide full real time protection which makes such an application valuable, only as an on-demand secondary scanner.

A simple command interface:

MS Security Essentials

A simple settings/options screen:

MS Security Essentials 2

A simple scan result screen – in this case a “clean” result:

MS Security Essentials 3

Or, a potential threat warning screen – following an injection, in this case, of a malware file:

image

Fast facts:

Easy to set up and run, particularly for new users.

The interface is positively simple offering Quick Scan, Full Scan, or Custom Scan.

Scans all drives including removable drives, and creates a system restore point

Full real time protection against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

The Dynamic Signature Service (DSS), a technology that helps ensure users are protected by the most current virus definitions available, without having to wait for the next scheduled download, is a major positive step for the average user.

Using DSS, Security Essentials validates suspicious files in near real time – a huge advantage for average users.

Actions from unknown sources such as unexpected network connections, attempts to modify privileged parts of the system or the downloading of known malware, all trigger requests for updates from DSS – another major advantage for the average user.

Runs unobtrusively in the background with an easy to understand warning system. Green – you’re good to go. Yellow – caution. Red – action required.

Very lightweight in terms of system resource usage – as opposed to some security applications that are well known resource hogs.

Malware identification and removal, in my experience, has been much better than average in real time extended testing, and not just in a 30 minute wonder test!

Quick scans are very fast, but full scans are slightly slower than average. However, if I’m infected, fast or slow is not a personal consideration – detection and removal of malware is.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Vista x 64, Win  7, Win 7 x64

Download at: Microsoft

Microsoft Security Essentials is a first class security application; fast, efficient, and effective. I highly recommend that you take a close look at this program.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

12 Comments

Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Microsoft, Software, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Microsoft Security Essentials – Is it Worth Installing?

I get my dose of daily humor by reading certain other tech writers and reviewers, and yes, I know it sounds somewhat sacrilegious. But there you have it.

The ones that make me laugh the loudest, are those who will never admit that Microsoft EVER does anything right. The ones I like to call – the Microsoft haters and baiters. The sense of arrogance they display is truly mind numbing. People who couldn’t write a line of code on a bet, are operating system experts!

Equally as funny, at least to me, are the so called security experts who run a security application in a one time 30 minute test, and then pontificate as to the strengths and weaknesses of that particular application. As if real world conditions have no place in a review!

A case in point is the latest security application, Microsoft Security Essentials, just released by Microsoft as a freebie; a free replacement application for the late, and unlamented, Windows Live OneCare. Since it’s Microsoft, and for all the usual silly reasons, the reviews of Microsoft Security Essentials, by well known reviewers, are all over the place.

I’ve been running Security Essentials as a beta tester for months on my Win 7 machine, backed up by my usual, on demand, security applications, including Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware and SUPERAntiSpyware and I’ll state, without any hesitation, I’m impressed.

MS Security Essentials

I contrast my own experience, the experiences of other beta testers, known to me, as well as the experiences of beta testers I read in online forums, which have been overwhelmingly positive, with these shoddy reviews which in some cases contain incorrect information. Information, which would not have been included, if the reviewer had actually tested Security Essentials under real world conditions, or for more than 30 minutes.

MS Security Essentials 2

In my view these nonsense reviews, and the dissing of Microsoft, is not unlike the unflattering reviews that surrounded Vista on its release. Frankly, I have yet to meet an average user, running Vista, who is dissatisfied with Vista as an operating system. Go figure!

MS Security Essentials 3

Her are the Microsoft Security Essentials facts, as I see them:

Easy to set up and run, particularly for new users.

The interface is positively simple offering Quick Scan, Full Scan, or Custom Scan.

Scans all drives including removable drives, and creates a system restore point

Full real time protection against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software.

The Dynamic Signature Service (DSS), a technology that helps ensure users are protected by the most current virus definitions available, without having to wait for the next scheduled download, is a major positive step for the average user.

Using DSS, Security Essentials validates suspicious files in near real time – a huge advantage for average users.

Actions from unknown sources such as unexpected network connections, attempts to modify privileged parts of the system or the downloading of known malware, all trigger requests for updates from DSS – another major advantage for the average user.

Runs unobtrusively in the background with an easy to understand warning system. Green – you’re good to go. Yellow – caution. Red – action required.

Very lightweight in terms of system resource usage – as opposed to some security applications that are well known resource hogs.

Malware identification and removal, in my experience, has been much better than average in real time extended testing, and not just in a 30 minute wonder test!

Quick scans are very fast, but full scans are slightly slower than average. However, if I’m infected, fast or slow is not a personal consideration – detection and removal of malware is.

Conclusion: Microsoft Security Essentials is a no cost viable alternative to overhyped and overpriced more familiar security applications.

System requirements: Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7

Download at: Microsoft

If you enjoyed this article, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

34 Comments

Filed under Anti-Keyloggers, Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Microsoft, Online Safety, rootkits, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools, Windows Vista, Windows XP