Microsoft officials announced Sept. 28 that the company's much-anticipated Security Essentials product will be generally available Sept. 29.
The Microsoft Security Essentials freeware is a slimmed-down replacement for Windows Live OneCare, which the company stopped selling retail earlier in 2009. Unlike OneCare, Security Essentials does not deal with firewalls or data backup. Instead, Microsoft chose to focus on anti-malware and anti-rootkit functionality.
"In November 2008, Microsoft announced plans to deliver a new no-cost anti-malware solution-code-named Morro-to consumers in the second half of calendar year 2009," a Microsoft spokesperson said. "By providing this core anti-malware solution to consumers at no cost ... Microsoft [is able] to better address the security needs created by smaller PC form factors, explosive growth of PCs in emerging markets and rapid increases in the incidence of global malware, and ... remove some of the barriers that stand in the way of consumers having quality anti-malware protection."
Security Essentials is "the first Microsoft security product to make use of the company's new Dynamic Signature Service, a technology that helps ensure [that] users stay protected by the most current virus definitions available without having to wait for the next scheduled download," Microsoft said in a news release. In addition, Security Essentials uses the service to validate suspicious files against newly identified malware in near real-time. Actions from unknown sources such as unexpected network connections, attempts to modify privileged parts of the system or the downloading of known malware all trigger requests for updates from the Dynamic Signature Service, company officials said in a June statement.
The product will be available in eight languages and 19 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
"There has been an amazing response from users eager to download Microsoft Security Essentials, a no-cost download that protects consumers against viruses, spyware and other malicious threats," the spokesperson said. "We appreciate the continued support and look forward to delivering Microsoft Security Essentials to consumers in 19 markets worldwide on Tuesday."