Microsoft Announces Availability of New Solutions to Help Protect Customers Against Spyware and Viruses

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 6, 2005 — As part of its ongoing efforts to address current and emerging security threats to computer users, Microsoft Corp. today announced two new technology solutions that will provide added protection against spyware and malicious software. Customers now can download the first beta version of Microsoft
® Windows®
AntiSpyware, a solution that will help protect Windows users from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. In addition, the Microsoft Windows malicious software removal tool, which complements traditional antivirus technologies by removing prevalent viruses and worms from a PC, will be available beginning Jan. 11, 2005. These solutions build on the advanced security technologies and proactive protection features of Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), which help better safeguard computers from hackers, viruses and other security risks.

“Customers have told us that they need solutions that make it easier to keep computers protected from emerging and ever-changing threats,” said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of the Security Business and Technology Unit at Microsoft. “The solutions we’re announcing today will offer customers additional resources to help to protect their PCs against spyware and viruses on an ongoing and predictable basis.”

Robust Windows AntiSpyware Beta Helps Protect Against Spyware

Based on technology acquired from GIANT Company Software Inc. in December 2004, the beta release of Windows AntiSpyware will help reduce negative effects caused by spyware, including slow PC performance, annoying pop-up ads, unwanted changes to Internet settings and unauthorized use of private information. It is available for Microsoft Windows 2000 and later versions.

A critical aspect of any antispyware solution is the ability to determine which programs are truly unwanted — a challenge compounded by the continual distribution of new spyware and other unwanted software. With Windows AntiSpyware, the worldwide SpyNet (TM) community plays a key role in determining which suspicious programs are classified as spyware. A voluntary network of users, SpyNet (TM) helps uncover new threats quickly to ensure that all users are better protected. Any user can choose to join SpyNet (TM) and report potential spyware to Microsoft.

Windows AntiSpyware enables customers to do the following:

  • Detect and remove spyware. Known spyware can be quickly and easily removed from a PC.

  • Improve Internet browsing safety. Continuous protection guards more than 50 ways Web sites and programs can put spyware on a PC.

  • Stop the latest threats. Signatures for new spyware identified by the SpyNet (TM) community and Microsoft researchers can be automatically downloaded to a PC, helping to stop new threats quickly.

Malicious Software Removal Tool Removes Prevalent Viruses and Worms

In January 2004 Microsoft released a series of removal tools, each of which targeted a single virus or worm and some of its variants. Collectively, these tools augmented existing antivirus protections by scanning more than 55 million PCs worldwide for viruses such as Blaster, MyDoom and Download.Ject. The new Microsoft Windows malicious software removal tool consolidates these existing removal tools into a single solution. The tool will be updated on the second Tuesday of each month as part of Microsoft’s monthly software security update process to respond to new viruses, worms and variants.

The Microsoft Windows malicious software removal tool will be offered in the following ways:

  • As a high-priority update through Windows Update and through Auto Update for the more than 112 million Windows XP-based PCs configured to receive priority updates automatically

  • Through a simple, online interface.

  • For larger corporate customers, a download through the Microsoft Download Center

Available at no charge, the Microsoft Windows malicious software removal tool is designed to augment traditional antivirus solutions to provide more complete protection against viruses, worms and variants. As with Microsoft’s earlier removal tools, the new solution incorporates the knowledge and technology gained through Microsoft’s acquisition of GeCAD Software in 2003.

As always, Windows XP users should install Windows XP Service Pack 2 to further protect against viruses, hackers and worms. Microsoft strongly advises all PC users to regularly follow these simple preventative steps: Use an Internet firewall on all PCs, update all PCs with the latest security updates, and use up-to-date antivirus software. More details about these safeguards can be found at .

The Windows AntiSpyware beta and information about Microsoft’s efforts to address spyware and other unwanted software is available for download at .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at .

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