Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft has supplied details on its plans for Microsoft Security Essentials (formerly referred to as Morro)—a free antivirus service for Windows. Do Symantec and McAfee really have anything to worry about?

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Microsoft Security Essentials Antivirus Software (Codename: Morro) Available on June 23rdS

Here are some of the main features users can expect from Morro:

•Real-time protection. Microsoft Security Essentials uses real-time protection to help address potential threats before they ever have an opportunity to become a problem.

•Dynamic Signature Service. In addition to taking advantage of daily signature downloads, Microsoft Security Essentials is able to validate suspicious files against newly identified malware in near-real time by querying the Dynamic Signature Service. Actions from unknown sources such as unexpected network connections, attempting to modify privileged parts of the system or downloading known malicious content all trigger requests for updates from the Dynamic Signature Service.

•Rootkit protection. Microsoft Security Essentials includes a number of new and improved technologies to provide additional defense against rootkits and other aggressive threats. These technologies include live kernel behavior monitoring for monitoring the integrity of kernel structures, support for direct file-system parsing to help identify and remove malicious programs and drivers hidden from the file system, and improved live rootkit removal that dynamically loads a new kernel mode driver as part of the cleaning process so that it can help successfully remove some of the more advanced rootkits.

•Lightweight design. Because Microsoft Security Essentials is core anti-malware only, it doesn't carry the weight of the suite products and has a much smaller download size.

•CPU throttling. CPU throttling helps ensure that the user's system remains responsive to those tasks the user is likely to be performing such as opening files or browser windows, launching programs, editing documents, saving files, etc.

•Idle-time scanning. Scans and updates are scheduled to run when the PC is idle and use a low-priority thread.

•Smart caching and active memory swapping. Signatures not in use don't take up space in the available memory, making Microsoft Security Essentials friendlier toward older PCs as well as today's smaller, less powerful form factors.

Essentially, Security Essentials seems a little bit like a lite version of Live OneCare (though it's technically not related). Since this version is free, it is certainly worth a shot—and it definitely poses a threat to Symantec and McAfee. Plus, they note that there will be no registrations or renewals and the software will be updated automatically. As far as availability is concerned, Morro will can be downloaded directly from Microsoft starting on June 23rd in a limited public beta for XP, Vista and Windows 7 users.

Microsoft Security Essentials
Fact Sheet
June 2009

As threats to the safety and security of today's PC users continue to evolve, Microsoft Corp. is actively working to help keep PC users protected so that they have a safer and enjoyable Windows experience. From building products that are more resilient to attack to delivering solutions designed to help secure the platform, Microsoft is committed to being a leader in providing consumers and enterprise customers worldwide with ongoing protection from new and existing threats.

In addition to taking advantage of the security designed and built into its products, Microsoft also encourages consumers to use real-time anti-malware protection to help protect their PCs from new and evolving threats. There are many quality security products to choose from (both free and subscription-based); however cost and performance barriers prevent many consumers from using up-to-date security software to protect their PCs.

To address consumer demand for quality anti-malware protection that's easy to get and doesn't slow down system performance, Microsoft is introducing Microsoft Security Essentials, a no-cost anti-malware solution that provides consumers with quality protection from threats including viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojans. And because Microsoft Security Essentials is offered directly from Microsoft, consumers can have confidence that the software they download is legitimate and not rogue security software that can actually cause a PC to become infected with malware.

Available to genuine Windows users, Microsoft Security Essentials has been designed to be hassle-free and is focused on addressing consumer demand for a security product that delivers the following:
Quality protection
An easy-to-use experience
Unobtrusive performance

Quality Anti-Malware Protection
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. With Microsoft Security Essentials, consumers can feel safer knowing that their PCs are being protected against viruses, spyware and other malicious software by the same core technology that is the basis for Microsoft's other award-winning security products and that is backed by Microsoft's world-class Security Response Center. Security features in Microsoft Security Essentials include the following:
Real-time protection. Microsoft Security Essentials uses real-time protection to help address potential threats before they ever have an opportunity to become a problem.
Dynamic Signature Service. In addition to taking advantage of daily signature downloads, Microsoft Security Essentials is able to validate suspicious files against newly identified malware in near-real time by querying the Dynamic Signature Service. Actions from unknown sources such as unexpected network connections, attempting to modify privileged parts of the system or downloading known malicious content all trigger requests for updates from the Dynamic Signature Service.
Rootkit protection. Microsoft Security Essentials includes a number of new and improved technologies to provide additional defense against rootkits and other aggressive threats. These technologies include live kernel behavior monitoring for monitoring the integrity of kernel structures, support for direct file-system parsing to help identify and remove malicious programs and drivers hidden from the file system, and improved live rootkit removal that dynamically loads a new kernel mode driver as part of the cleaning process so that it can help successfully remove some of the more advanced rootkits.

Easy to get, easy to use
While there are many security solutions on the market today, the paid subscription model for consumer security does not meet the needs of many consumers, including those in emerging markets where cost, limited availability of payment instruments such as credit cards and hardware constraints can limit adoption of core security protection. To address the need for quality protection without the hassle of annual renewals or the cost and payment barriers associated with many suite products, Microsoft makes obtaining Microsoft Security Essentials and staying up to date with the latest technical and security protection advancements easy:
Available at no cost. Because Microsoft Security Essentials is available at no cost, there is no need to go through a lengthy registration process or provide billing information.
Direct download. Microsoft Security Essentials is easy to obtain online direct from Microsoft, meaning consumers can have confidence knowing they are downloading quality anti-malware protection from a trusted source.
No registration, trials or renewals. Consumers can be confused by trials and annual renewals, in many cases believing they have up-to-date anti-virus protection when in fact they do not. With Microsoft Security Essentials, consumers can download the software without a cumbersome registration process and stay protected without the hassle of annual renewals.
Up to date. Microsoft Security Essentials is automatically updated to help ensure that signatures, the anti-malware engine and the application are always up to date. New malware signatures are downloaded daily with new signatures accessed in near-real time through the Dynamic Signature Service when suspicious behavior is detected.
Single-click fix. There is no guesswork required to keep the PC protected. When there is an issue requiring user attention, an action button appears in a prominent location on the notification with the suggested action, making it easy for the consumer to fix the issue with just one click.

Quiet Protection
Microsoft Security Essentials is designed to run quietly and efficiently in the background so that consumers can use their Windows-based PC the way they want - without worrying about interruptions, pop-ups or poor system performance. To help keep PCs protected without overburdening system resources, Microsoft Security Essentials includes the following features:
Lightweight design. Because Microsoft Security Essentials is core anti-malware only, it doesn't carry the weight of the suite products and has a much smaller download size.
CPU throttling. CPU throttling helps ensure that the user's system remains responsive to those tasks the user is likely to be performing such as opening files or browser windows, launching programs, editing documents, saving files, etc.
Idle-time scanning. Scans and updates are scheduled to run when the PC is idle and use a low-priority thread.
Smart caching and active memory swapping. Signatures not in use don't take up space in the available memory, making Microsoft Security Essentials friendlier toward older PCs as well as today's smaller, less powerful form factors.

Microsoft Security Essentials System Requirements
Operating System: Windows XP (Service Pack 2 or Service Pack 3); Windows Vista; Windows 7 (Beta or Release Candidate)
For Windows XP, a PC with:
CPU with clock speed of 500 MHz or higher
Memory of 256 MB RAM or higher
For Windows Vista and Windows 7, a PC with:
CPU with clock speed of 1.0 GHz or higher
Memory of 1 GB RAM or higher
VGA (display): 800x600 or higher
Storage: 140 MB of available hard-disk space
An Internet connection is required for installation and to download the latest virus and spyware definitions for Microsoft Security Essentials Beta.

Pricing and Availability
Microsoft Security Essentials Beta will be available for limited public download beginning June 23, 2009, from http://www.microsoft.com/security_essentials in the following geographies and languages:
Geographies: Brazil, Israel, U.S.
Languages: Brazilian Portuguese, English
Public beta testing for Simplified Chinese in China will be available later in 2009.