Microsoft announces launch of the free anti-malware 'Security Essentials'

Microsoft has announced the launch of the free anti-malware Security Essentials.

Previously known as 'Morro', Microsoft described it as a ‘no-cost, core anti-malware service that quietly protects consumers against viruses, spyware and other malicious software'. The product will be available at 5pm BST today from microsoft.com/security_essentials.

Security Essentials is backed by the company's global security response team and is built on the same core security technology found in the company's security solutions for businesses.

It claimed that the launch is part of ‘Microsoft's ongoing commitment to provide a more trustworthy computing experience for all customers'. By offering it as a free download, Microsoft is hoping to encourage broader adoption of anti-virus protection across the consumer audience which in turn will help increase security across the entire Windows ecosystem.

Microsoft Security Essentials uses real-time protection to help prevent PCs from becoming infected. It is the first Microsoft security product to make use of its new Dynamic Signature Service, a technology that ensures users are protected by the most current virus definitions available without having to wait for the next scheduled download.

It is designed to run quietly in the background alerting the user only when there is an action for them to take.  It limits CPU and memory usage resulting in less impact on the tasks consumers do every day, such as opening documents or browser windows or loading search results, even on older or less powerful PCs.

It can run on Windows XP Service Pack 2 or 3, Windows Vista, Windows 7 including XP mode, x32 and x64. For Windows XP it requires CPU: 500 MHz or higher. It requires 256MB RAM or higher and for Windows Vista and Windows 7 it needs CPU: 1.0 GHz or higher. A total of 140MB available hard-disk space is specified with 1GB RAM or higher memory.

Amy Barzdukas, general manager for consumer security at Microsoft, said: “Consumers have told us that they want the protection of real-time security software, but that they are confused by trials and renewals and concerned about performance and as a result, too many are unprotected. With Microsoft Security Essentials, consumers can get high quality protection that is easy-to-get, easy-to-use, and won't get in their way.”

Microsoft Security Essentials has received certification from independent testing labs, including AV Comparatives, West Coast Labs and ICSA Labs. It requires no registration, trials or renewals and is available for download directly from Microsoft.

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