January 5, 2005 5:49 AM PST

Giant step for Microsoft spyware killer

Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on its spyware killer, which is based on technology from a recently acquired company, Giant Software. The beta version is expected to debut in a few days.

Microsoft's December purchase of Giant, a small U.S. publisher of spyware detection software, put Microsoft in a position to offer an antispyware application of its own. Spyware is software that can, among other things, inundate users with unwanted pop-ups and surreptitiously monitor a computer's activity.

The technology enthusiast Web site Neowin.net has just published the first screenshots of the beta version, putting a release date of Thursday on the beta.

Nicolas Mirail, technical head of security at Microsoft France, told ZDNet France: "We are already in the process of internal testing of the beta version of the antispyware (program), which will be released to the public in January," he said. "No precise release date has been set yet."

Microsoft is also keeping quiet about whether the application, which will be compatible with Windows 2000 and later versions of the operating system, is designed to be an integrated part of Windows, like a security patch, or if it will be distributed or sold separately.

The Redmond, Wash., company is also working on antivirus software, which is likely to be a standalone offering. The antivirus tool is expected to be released this year.

Christophe Guillemin of ZDNet France reported from Paris.

20 comments

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It should be free
Microsoft should not charge for such a utility... after all, it is due to their software that there is such a problem. activeX is the worst thing ever and they should be more proactive in fighting a problem that they are responsible for.
Posted by (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't agree
Sure, it would be very nice, and it would send a very good sign to the world if Microsoft released this software as a Windows update for free.

But I do not agree that the actions of criminals dictate the necessity for Microsoft to give away software it has invested in.

If you have an easily-picked lock on your front door, the manufacturer will not give you a free security system because burglars can break in. Criminals should be held accountable for their own actions.

Glass is awfully easy to break too. But we don't hold window manufacturers responsible for criminals who come in through broken windows.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft AntiVirus
It should be free. Let me see. You sell an operating system that has holes like swiss cheese that allows a virus to enter that you can't fix, so you buy a anti-virus company and then sell it also to fix the problem created originally. What is their incentive to fix the operating system is they make money on selling anti-virus software. My forsee another lawsuit.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
If it isn't free its going to be the most pirated
software EVER. Since spyware is by and large an issue with Internet Imploder and since MS isn't even attempting to fix this problem in anything other then IE for XP it should be free to previous users.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS Anti-Spyware is for the corp.
I suspect that Microsoft is not trying to compete in the spyware contest but, rather, they are trying to develop a Spware/adware protection tool that can bee instrumented for WIndows in the corporation. Other vendors haven't yet seen this and added in the necessary hooks for SNMP, WMI and compiance with desktop management.

Needless to say some vendor out their is doing this and will provide competition in the corp.

I believe GFI and one or two others have taken a stab at this but have only providde a mult-platform solution that dos'nt quite seemlessly integrate at this time. Microsofts move will prod them into investing in the development needed to get to this goal. In the end Microsoft will have added needed hooks into the OS to support the vendors and will have, once again, added value tothe platform keeping it alive against Linux, Unix and other contenders.
Posted by jv (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Down with market-droids!
>[http://...|http://...]trying to develop a Spware/adware
>protection tool that can bee instrumented for
>WIndows in the corporation.

What kind of word is "Instrumented"??

Imaginary marketing-words, bad spelling, and busted grammar give little reason to heed your opinion.

Microsoft SELLING such software is like car makers SELLING recall-fixes.

M$ sells products it KNOWS are broken, then sells fixes?
How long will it be until their update service goes to a paid-subscription model?

M$'s only hope to maintain their position is to either succeed in underhanded lock-in or to actually FIX THEIR PRODUCTS - Longhorn was supposed to be such a ground-up fix, but they've decided to just hang more gew-gaws onto Win2k/XP. Sad.
Posted by powerclam (70 comments )
Link Flag
great idea for MS - fix the real problem instead
So they buy a company that sells bandaids to fix their bleeding
system. Kind of like putting your finger in the **** when the
walls are leaking everywhere. You want a "real"spyware killer get
away from all Microsoft products and their endless security
holes, Buy an Apple machine and you never have to worry about
spyware, virus, or even having to click three time to do
something that only took one click on the Mac. Too cheap -
switch to Linux, at least you got away from Microsoft.

I know you apologists wwho have never worked on anything but
Microsoft think it is normal to waste all of your time fighting
their problems and besides.... Too bad ignorance keeps you
from even looking at alternatives that are clearly superior to
anyone who works on more than one platform. I support
Windows for several companies and would never use that junk at
home or in my own office. I do like the way I can charge for
repairs and get paid to do essentially the same thing a month
later because a "New" hole was discovered in Microsoft's garbage
code.
Posted by (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You forgot about y00zers
Well, you are entitled to your biased opinions, but you are incorrect if you think that all virus infections are the fault of bad code. Many are the fault of bad users. If any anti-virus package can help eliminate the stupid mistakes of users, then the developers might actually have some time to focus on the problems that really do exist in the code.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Do you trust this face?
To many, acquiring anti-spyware from a company that would not want its own software products monitored may not be a good idea.
The source for anti-spyware should come from companies that produce just that tool.
Posted by oedolyn (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hang on now...
"...acquiring anti-spyware from a company that would not want its own software products monitored..."

Plenty of people, Microsoft partners, customers, and national governments have full access to Microsoft source code. Who are you suggesting is keeping their products from being monitored?
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
First Impressions
Things I found after trying the beta:

1) Some incompatability with ZoneAlarm. Had to launch program manually.

2)Programs sucks up some processor cycles. Over time, after layering on a firewall, antivirus, ad-blocker, spyware detector all in real-time you will need to think about a hardware $upgrade. For now, I turned off the beta real-time activity and will just do manual scans.

3) The program flagged VNC as spyware, which it really is not.

4) The program refers to itself as Giantsoftware Company. At least somebody in Redmond has a sense of humor.

5)Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Use other spyware detect programs as well -- many will at least do the scans for free, and you can remove the offendors manually. No single spyware detector seems to find everything.

6) Given that MS has such a poor record of addressing security problems with their products, I will continue to pay for protection from 3rd party vendors. Use MS protection products only if they are free, but don't nake them your primary protection tools.

Keith, www.techcando.com
Posted by Stating (869 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Flawed OS is the problem, get Linux or Apple
Microsoft is just making an attempt to keep folks on the flawed OS that they produce.

It is a mess and this is a vain attempt to keep market share.

Get some real help today.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://searchwars.squarespace.com/free-software-downloads/" target="_newWindow">http://searchwars.squarespace.com/free-software-downloads/</a>

Better yet move to Linux desktop or MAC ASAP.
Posted by anthonycea (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Loud Voices
Whenever Microsoft does anything there are those that find it an opportunity to be loud and nearly abusive.

I made a comment about Microsoft's possible purpose for getting into the anti-spyware business. BANG! Attacks from all sides. The abuse even took my bad typing as an indication of a possible mental deficiency. It's just bad typing and an old sticky keyboard. I assure you that my mental deficiencies are well hidden from your ogling eyes.

Microsoft, I believe, many times pushes the product envelope by competing with a viable, but at times, hesitant cottage industry. I too believe that there are quite a few excellent startups in the spy-v-antispy world. Microsoft has shown them some of the things they are missing. If they take the hint and move their products forward on all platforms, taking MIcrosoft's hints into consideration, they will have better products faster. That's good for all of us.

So guys...cut the crap. This platform prejudice is childish. All of hte major players produce excellent products. All products have weaknesses. If it was football I could understand the antagonism and emotionalism. This is work dammit!. Let's have better discussions.
Posted by jv (31 comments )
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