Anti-Spyware Becomes Windows Defender

Microsoft’s anti-spyware application is getting a new name and a new delivery channel.

Windows AntiSpyware, which has been in beta since January, is now called Windows Defender. The application will also be part of the upcoming Windows Vista OS.

XP users need not worry, because it is also expected to be available as a download for Windows XP. Jason Garms, the architect and group program manager for Microsoft’s anti-malware technology team wrote in a blog post that Windows Defender is more than just a name change from AntiSpyware.

“Windows Defender is about what Windows will do for customers, defending them from spyware and other unwanted software,” Garms wrote. “Our solution has really been about more than just the standard definition of ‘spyware.’ We’ve always said we will provide visibility and control, as well as protection, detection and removal from other potentially unwanted software, including rootkits, keystroke loggers and more.”

As part of the new Windows Defender, malware definition updates will be delivered via Microsoft’s Windows Update service. Garms also explained that Microsoft has improved malware detection in Defender, “by applying to spyware threats all the great detection technology we use in our antivirus engine.”

Microsoft blogger Steve Dodson noted in his blog post about Windows Defender that, though it will be included as part of Vista when released, users will be able to run a different spyware product if they so choose.

“The really cool thing is that the Windows Security Center in Vista will be redesigned to detect if an anti-spyware application such as Windows Defender is running and operating normally,” Dodson wrote.

Garms noted in his posting that work and testing on Windows Defender has already been completed and the newly branded application is now “making its way” into the main build system.

Microsoft recently re-branded its OneCare beta to Windows Live OneCare and has also launched a Windows Live Safety Center beta as part of its Windows Live initiative.

A Microsoft spokesperson explained to that select enterprise customers started to see the Windows Defender name on Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) on Nov 4.

The spokesperson also noted that Microsoft plans to release an updated version of the software to current Windows AntiSpyware beta users prior to the Dec. 31 expiration date to ensure that customers do not have a lapse in their spyware protection.

Article courtesy of

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