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back to article MS claims early success for freebie security scanner

Redmond estimates 1.5 million users downloaded its freebie security scanner software during its first week of availability earlier this month. Microsoft Security Essentials, which comes at no extra charge to consumers running kosher versions of Windows, detected four million instances of malware of one type or another on 535,752 …

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Silver badge

It's good but...

IMHO the security essentials suite is pretty good in terms of its actual job. Its main drawback is the typical 'these are the resources needed for our software, if it slows down your system, then your system isn't good enough' attitude, rather than the more logical 'lets make this as streamline and unobtrusive as possible'. Also, any process that takes multiple 'end process tree' commands to stop, then occasionally starts itself again for no reason, is frankly an annoyance.

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Gates Halo

Well

It's pretty good.

I find it very lightweight and have recommended it to many people.

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WTF?

Statistics..

44% of users are on Win7

Cant decide WTF or FAIL?

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Alert

And they know this because...

Microsoft owns your PC.

Good to see ole sam at the top of the charts! GO U.S.A!! 27% thats fucking brilliant! compared to 3% in Europe. Perhaps they are stupider than we first thought....

(So what % of that is security Pros testing the detection rate?)

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Might have to give it a go and see

I was a big AVG free fan until the month of nagware earlier this year. I have been thinking of switching ever since.

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Gates Horns

Uh-huh

"MS claims early success for freebie security scanner"

What did you expect MS to claim? "Our product was an abject failure"?

"Redmond estimates 1.5 million users downloaded its freebie security scanner software during its first week of availability earlier this month."

But how many of them will still be in use the next month?

"Windows XP machines were more likely to be infected than Vista boxes which, in turn, were more bug-filed than Win 7 machines."

Of course. There are many more XP machines than there are Vista machines - and of the latter there are many more than Win7 machines.

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Gold badge
Grenade

Maybe not.

"....lack of effective behaviour-based malware detection was the one big minus in comparison with AVG."

Oh yeah? My mother was having a few issues recently, so when this shipped I asked her to pull AVG and try the MS product. After install it cleared its throat, removed something unpleasant that AVG was happily cohabiting with (can't remember exactly what off the top of my head, but it was a genuine nasty) and all is now sweetness and light.

The word "effective" is heavily misused in that minus point IMHO. AVG couldn't detect malware if it was four foot across, painted dayglo pink and had "I am a piece of malware" picked out on it in flashing LEDs.

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@statistics

It woud be logical that those who had Win7 would be wanting to try all the latest toys.

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Joke

Correction

The article says: "However, user dissatisfaction with the tendency towards bloatware that came with AVG 8 make it vulnerable to attack from the likes of Avast and Avira, as well as Microsoft, which boasts a huge name recognition advantage in the consumer market."

Shouldn't that be "However, user dissatisfaction with the tendency towards bloatware that came with AVG 8 make it vulnerable to attack from the likes of Avast and Avira. Microsoft, boasts that it can bloat the "dir" command out to 1.2Gb for the next Windows release declined to comment"

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Anonymous Coward

Claims?

Using "Claims" in the title very subtly adds a question mark.

I expected contention within the article, but to the contrary there's confirmation that MS's statement concurs with independent reviews.

Would it be too much of a concession to state: "MS report early success with freebie virus scanner"?

Or would that uncontraversial slant not attract as many readers?

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Gates Horns

another example of microsoft devouring...

Their "partners", like Norton, instead of the "competition". Don't look to me like being a "partner" is very safe.

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Re: Statistics

No. 40% of people who have downloaded the MS Security Essentials software are running Windows 7.

So, in answer to your question, that would definitely be a FAIL!

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Silver badge

Crass Statement of the Bleedin' Obvious

"Windows XP machines were more likely to be infected than Vista boxes which, in turn, were more bug-filed than Win 7 machines." ..... Well, knock me down with a feather. Which is System has been longest in the Field?

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@ Statistics..

Simple matter of early adopters being on Windows 7 are the most likely to try this out... furthermore Windows 7 installs probably make up a lot of new installations at the moment - the time you are most likely to install AV and Win 7 officially compliant packages are thinner on the ground compared to XP or Vista. MS SE works well on 7...

I'm using it on 7 and XP, both working great - prefer it to AVG and Avast because it's less intrusive, simple and does the job. I'm a careful user so I don't consider myself at great risk from viruses, so it's just what I want. I'd recomend a more comprehensive (probably paid for) package to someone who is less careful with their system...

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Gates Horns

Did anyone else see that as 'feeble'?

I saw 'Microsoft' and 'security' in the same sentence and thought, well...

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Gates Horns

Handy Tool

Microsoft in "Windows Users Have Malware Installed" shocker. Here's some handy code to tell you if your Windows install is insecure or not:

10 Print "Yes."

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Gates Halo

Re: Statistics

Although on the face of it, 44% on a yet to be released (just) OS is a fail, in the long run I don't think it is.

You need to look at the kind of people who will be running Win7, early adoptors every one of them. Therefore, for 44% of the MSE software to be downloaded by proven early adopters can only be a good thing long term for MSE, so long as it gets continued good feedback anyway!

Basically you've got a core of about 750,000 approx people there who if they're all having the same experience as myself will just go on to recommend to less technical people who are not in the early adopting crowd.

The whole statistic around who had the most infections by region could well be affected by the total population size who have downloaded it, rather than saying 27% of the installations had an infection in the US, compared to 3% in the UK.

What would be good is if Microsoft released figures around the number of installations to detections in each region for MSE.

Also, would be good if someone did a full on review of its AV capabilities Vs. some of the paid for options...

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installations probably exceed downloads

The actual number of installed instances is probably somewhat higher the number of downloads as some people - myself, for example - downloaded it once but installed it on multiple machines.

@statistics - It's speculated that users of Windows 7 RC1 have been more likely to try MSE out than people running XP or Vista that already have an AV running on them.

Arstechnica had an interesting article about a false positive MSE flagged that was generated by a custom script written by one of its forum contributors, which indicates that MSE looks for suspicious code in addition to suspicious behavior.

The script in question was a quick .vbs hack (admitted its author), some sort of logging script, that wrote its data to itself and then modify it (rather than write the data to a separate data file and modify it there, which is best accepted practice apparently), a common feature of malware, though this particular script had no malicious purpose. Changing the extension from .vbs to .txt, MSE still flagged it as malware, reinforcing the impression that MSE was examining code text rather than just code behavior.

They ran both versions of the script through that testing website that runs code through 17 (or is it 23?) different virus scanners and MSE was the only one that flagged the .vbs script, though Dr Web flagged it in it's .txt form.

While the author of the Ars article took MSE to task for generating this false positive, the vast majority of the commenters disagreed, saying this was exactly the type of thing good AV software *should* be looking for and taking all the other AV vendors to task for missing it.

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Alert

Misleading figures...

All genuine XP boxes are infected by definition as, to be genuine, they have to have that well known piece of malware "Windows Genuine Advantage".

When MS release an anti-malware suite that detects and removes WGA, then I'll trust them!

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Happy

MSE v "paid for options"

"Also, would be good if someone did a full on review of its AV capabilities Vs. some of the paid for options..."

Well not a full review but this week I had the 'pleasure' of dealing with something particularly nasty on a relative's XP machine. One of those fake AV scanners that installs itself after some ill advised clicking. It walked straight through McAfee Total Protection and disabled it, wouldn't allow the running of Malwarebytes and just stopped the installation of Spybot altogether. It also thumbed it's nose at my one time favourite Nod32. MSE was the only thing that identified it and attempted to do anything useful.

I've been using it since release on my own machines and like some of the above like it's low key approach. I'll take a stab in the dark and guess that the nay sayers haven't used it or any other MS products in a little while.

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Happy

I'll wait until they work out all the bugs

Since it's new I'll wait till they come out with at least another version before trying it out. I've been using Avira AntiVir Personal free antivirus for years and it hasn't failed me yet no matter how bad my browsing habits have tended to be at times.

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Two things that make it for the win

One. It only tells you that it exists when something needs sorting. AVG Free, is adware no matter which way you cut it and flashes lots of 'important' messages asking you to buy a new version, which is a bit too much crying wolf for my liking. I saw the MSE user interface for the first time in 3 weeks when it kindly told me that a wmv I'd just been served would have caused another browser and OS grief.

Two. I've never seen it consume any CPU or hack wildly at the disk. An hour after starting the system it's done ~30k IO ops, where AVG or Symantec would have busy UI showing and would be sitting in the millions of IO ops, and the CPU load would be on 5% the entire time.

100% win as far as I can tell.

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Unhappy

whats wrong with comodo?

We switched to comodo free av/fw/antimalware once around avgs switch to v8 realising they had bloated and sold out but really wonder why it is not mentioned as alternative. neither avast or avira free versions match up to it. so what's wrong with comodo?

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@Steve Bush

Thanks for the Comodo tip, I'll check it out. I'm using AVG Bloatware at the moment.

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Bronze badge

@Steve Bush

I've found that Avira kicks Comodo, but there you go. Each to his own and all that.

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Coffee/keyboard

@TeeCee

Bastard! T|N>K. Again. But when you're right, you're right :o)

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Linux

How nice.

Yet another item that Linux users don't need to worry about.

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