Microsoft Names Antispyware App

Microsoft gave an official name to its software for protecting computer users against spyware. The software, which has been known as Windows AntiSpyware Beta 1, will be called Windows Defender when the finished version becomes available next year, a Microsoft spokesperson said this week.

A posting on Microsoft's TechNet Web blog announced the change on Friday and also revealed some details about capabilities coming to the software. The current version of Windows AntiSpyware Beta 1 has 18 million users, the spokesperson said.

Product Features

Windows Defender will employ the same detection technology used in Microsoft's antivirus engine, improving the spyware detection capabilities, according to the blog post. Spyware is software that monitors a user's online habits without the user's knowledge or permission.

The software will also protect users against rootkits and keystroke loggers, the blog entry said. Rootkits hide files, potentially malicious in nature, from security software. Keystroke loggers are programs that record keystrokes so that a hacker can discover a user's password or other sensitive information.

Windows Defender will also sport an updated user interface, and enterprise customers will be able to receive updates to Defender through Windows Server Update Services, the blog said.

Windows Defender will be part of Windows Vista, Microsoft's latest operating system scheduled for release next year. It will also be available to users of Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003, according to the spokesperson.

Users will be able to disable it and use spyware software from a different vendor if they choose, the spokeswoman said. Windows Security Center, which alerts users if they aren't running an antispyware program, will recognize third-party antispyware software, she said.

Check Point's New App

In related news, Check Point Software Technologies announced new software, Integrity Anti-Spyware, which will be integrated into its Check Point Integrity software. The move means that customers will be able to use a single security product from Check Point that includes spyware protection as well as endpoint security, the announced Monday.

According to Check Point, Integrity Anti-Spyware detects spyware and automatically quarantines or removes it. Integrity Anti-Spyware will become available later this month and can be purchased as part of a suite of products that costs US$67 or more per user.

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