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A Collection of Random Thoughts
Thursday, January 06, 2005
 
New Anti-spyware tool from Microsoft
Microsoft has released a public beta of their new anti-spyware tool. More information about it can be found here:
http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/spyware/software/default.mspx
I've already downloaded and installed it (I've already got several others installed including Ad-aware, Spybot Search & Destroy, Spyware Blaster among others). So now let's see how easy it is to use.

The installation itself was fairly straight-forward. For end-users, accepting all the defaults will work just fine. My only complaint: the scheduler is enabled by default to run at 2:00 am. During the install, I did not enable the daily scan (there is an option not to), but yet when I went into the scheduling portion of the app, it was enabled and set to run daily at 2:00 am. Perhaps this will be fixed in a more recent release, but I typically don't run any anti-spyware scans on a daily basis. I do have Spybot's resident IE scanner, and I also enabled the Microsoft Anti-spyware shield. So on to the gory details. What did it find? I was intrigued to know if it would find anything that the others didn't.

To it's credit, it did in fact find some additional spyware. Although none of it is what I would consider truly malicious (some of the really nasty ones start creating pornographic links on your desktop among other things), it was interesting to see that it did find them. I also was impressed that with each instance of spyware found, you have the ability to report it to a "community".

Bottom line is that this looks to be a useful tool. I'll be watching to see how the product progresses. Also yet to be determined is if Microsoft will end up charging for the software once it is released.

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