Vulnerabilities / Threats
12/20/2010
02:15 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Overhauls Free Antivirus Software

Firewall integration, a better heuristic antivirus scanner, and network traffic inspection added to Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta Revealed
Slideshow: Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta Revealed
(click image for larger view and for full slideshow)
Without fanfare, on Thursday Microsoft released version 2 of its Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) antivirus software. The software is free for individuals and small businesses with up to 10 PCs.

The new version of the software, which recently went through a four-month beta program, now has an overhauled heuristic antivirus scanning engine, integration with Windows Firewall, and network traffic inspection for Windows Vista and 7 -- but not XP -- reported Ars Technica.

On Thursday, Microsoft also announced that the not-free Forefront Endpoint Protection 2010 -- aimed at larger corporate users -- would be available from January 1, 2011. Forefront offers similar functionality to MSE, as well as centralized administration.

According to internal Microsoft research, 80% of PC users in the United States think their antivirus software is up to date. But in reality -- thanks to outdated signatures or lapsed trials -- only about 40% of Windows users are employing up-to-date antivirus software.

Why, then, wasn't there more fanfare for the latest version of a free antivirus program that's earned plaudits? The United Kingdom's PC Pro magazine said the stealth release might have to do with the software looking less like its previous, standalone antivirus scanner incarnation, and more like the security software offered by the likes of Symantec and McAfee. With MSE 2, according to PC Pro, "users are now asked whether they want to turn on the Windows Firewall during installation, dragging Security Essentials closer to becoming a full-fledged security suite."

Microsoft has recently come under fire from some antivirus firms for apparently muscling onto their turf. In November, after Microsoft began automatically installing MSE onto PCs that lacked antivirus software, Trend Micro slammed Microsoft on competitive grounds.

In a similar vein, Panda Software blogged that Microsoft was threatening PC users by creating an antivirus monoculture. According to Panda, "Microsoft should offer the complete portfolio of more advanced and secure alternatives of free antivirus products and time-limited versions of paid security suites, allowing users to choose any of them from the Optional Windows/Microsoft Update." Microsoft doesn't appear to have pursued this strategy.

Interestingly, Microsoft's release of MSE 2 comes on the heels of a new study from German AV vendor Avira, which found widespread dissatisfaction with antivirus. According to the survey of more than 9,000 Avira users, 25% of antivirus users admit to pulling the plug on their antivirus software -- at least temporarily -- because it appeared to be slowing their computer. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of respondents have tried multiple security products on their PC in the past year.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading, September 16, 2014
Malicious software is morphing to be more targeted, stealthy, and destructive. Are you prepared to stop it?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-3090
Published: 2014-09-23
IBM Rational ClearCase 7.1 before 7.1.2.15, 8.0.0 before 8.0.0.12, and 8.0.1 before 8.0.1.5 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via a crafted XML document containing a large number of nested entity references, a similar issue to CVE-2003-1564.

CVE-2014-3101
Published: 2014-09-23
The login form in the Web component in IBM Rational ClearQuest 7.1 before 7.1.2.15, 8.0.0 before 8.0.0.12, and 8.0.1 before 8.0.1.5 does not insert a delay after a failed authentication attempt, which makes it easier for remote attackers to obtain access via a brute-force attack.

CVE-2014-3103
Published: 2014-09-23
The Web component in IBM Rational ClearQuest 7.1 before 7.1.2.15, 8.0.0 before 8.0.0.12, and 8.0.1 before 8.0.1.5 does not set the secure flag for the session cookie in an https session, which makes it easier for remote attackers to capture this cookie by intercepting its transmission within an http...

CVE-2014-3104
Published: 2014-09-23
IBM Rational ClearQuest 7.1 before 7.1.2.15, 8.0.0 before 8.0.0.12, and 8.0.1 before 8.0.1.5 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via a crafted XML document containing a large number of nested entity references, a similar issue to CVE-2003-1564.

CVE-2014-3105
Published: 2014-09-23
The OSLC integration feature in the Web component in IBM Rational ClearQuest 7.1 before 7.1.2.15, 8.0.0 before 8.0.0.12, and 8.0.1 before 8.0.1.5 provides different error messages for failed login attempts depending on whether the username exists, which allows remote attackers to enumerate account n...

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio