Microsoft launched a beta version of its forthcoming free antivirus software on Tuesday, aiming to protect users who, for one reason or another, have not installed security applications on their computers from other providers.
The security software, dubbed Microsoft Security Essentials, will block known viruses and prevent some malicious behavior normally associated with stealthy malicious software known as rootkits, the company stated. Microsoft will create the definitions for the product using samples collected from more than 450 million PCs around the world.
The company flagged rogue security software as a key problem that its software could eliminate by offering a free, trusted alternative.
"With malware attacks increasing in both number and severity and the increasing incidence of rogue security software, quality anti-malware protection delivered from a trusted source is a must-have for today's PC users," the company stated.
Microsoft announced in November that it would be phasing out its Windows Live OneCare service, instead offering a limited free antivirus service to Windows users. The software will not provide other security measures — such as managed firewalls, performance tuning and data backup services — common in other security products, include Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare service. Instead, the company aims to create a basic anti-malware service that does not impact PC performance in hopes that attackers will have more trouble infecting customers' computers.
The company plans to allow customers to download the initial beta of the software on Tuesday, starting from 9 a.m. PT and launch the final product by the end of the year.
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Posted by: Robert Lemos