Microsoft Releases Anti-Spyware beta

Microsoft released the beta of their anti-spyware tool that they acquired last month through their purchase of Giant Software.  You can download the beta release here.

Three things are notable about this release...

  • First, from a functionality perspective, it works very much like an anti-virus application.  It scans files and registry entries on the PC looking for known spyware files.  On my relatively modest desktop, it scanned 23,000 files and 7,500 registry entries in 5 minutes, 20 seconds, and didn't find any spyware.

    Given the similar technology approach to virus prevention, one has to wonder how long these two categories can exist independently.  It seems natural that anti-spam and anti-virus would be part of the same security application. Microsoft is likely moving in this direction, since they acquired anti-virus technology last year as well.

  • Second, before the tool can be downloaded, Microsoft requires an "Authenticity Verification" on your PC. You have to download an ActiveX control (always happy to see that happen) that scans your system to make sure you're not running a pirated copy of Windows.

    I'm not sure why this has to happen.  After all, this is a beta, and they're giving the beta away for free.  In the future, it appears they intend to charge for the final release.  Don't they want broad testing and broad exposure?  Given that the AntiSpyware install file can be found elsewhere, it seems heavy handed.

  • Lastly, even though Microsoft has only been in the AntiSpyware business for a month, they've released their "AntiSpyware Strategy" roadmap.  It's a pity they can't do the same for customers of shipping, long-standing products like Exchange.

One Comment

  1. Posted January 10, 2005 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    Incidentally, I ran the anti-spyware tool on my kids’ computers over the weekend. On a 15 year old boy’s computer, it found and removed 28 separate pieces of spyware. On a 12 year old girl’s it found 37.

    Both kids are a lot happier now that the spyware is gone, which I assume they picked up by downloading free browser enhancements and other add-ons that kids like to try.

One Trackback

  1. By Sirana on January 7, 2005 at 9:02 AM

    Microsoft Releases AntiSpyware beta

    Link: Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) Home. I blogged it over on Ferris Research.

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