Vulnerabilities / Threats
12/20/2010
02:15 PM
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 But in reality -- thanks to outdated signatures or lapsed trials -- only about 40% of Windows users are employing up-to-date antivirus software.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
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Dark Reading Live EVENTS
INsecurity - For the Defenders of Enterprise Security
A Dark Reading Conference
While red team conferences focus primarily on new vulnerabilities and security researchers, INsecurity puts security execution, protection, and operations center stage. The primary speakers will be CISOs and leaders in security defense; the blue team will be the focus.
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: " I think Google Doodle is getting a little out of control"
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
[Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
As cyber attackers become more sophisticated and enterprise defenses become more complex, many enterprises are faced with a complicated question: what is the risk of an IT security breach? This report delivers insight on how today's enterprises evaluate the risks they face. This report also offers a look at security professionals' concerns about a wide variety of threats, including cloud security, mobile security, and the Internet of Things.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.