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Microsoft defends its anti-malware software after Symantec piles on

Microsoft is defending the merits of its free Security Essentials anti-malware software after a top Symantec engineer badmouthed the new release.

“Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection that uses behavior monitoring and reputation services to help identify the malicious software as soon as it emerges in the ecosystem and then uses the Dynamic Signature Service to make the newest definitions available virtually real-time, without having to wait for the next signature download,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Earlier in the week, Jens Meggers, vice president of engineering for Norton products, claimed the newly released Security Essentials is just an unimpressive recycling of Microsoft's discontinued Live OneCare technology for Windows desktops.

“It's just stripped down OneCare,” Meggers said, citing a report from Dennis Technology Lab that compared Norton AntiVirus 2009 to Microsoft Security Essentials and deemed Norton stronger in malware defense by about a 2-to-1 margin (the test was sponsored by Symantec).

Microsoft expressed disappointment in Symantec's claims but did not rebut each of Meggers' remarks.

In its statement Microsoft said it “continues to advocate for a defense in depth strategy that includes the use of anti-malware software, but also includes protections such as firewall and user account controls like those found in Windows, browser security like that in IE8 and continuous updates like those provided through Microsoft Update.”

Microsoft indicated it is offering Microsoft Security essentials for free because “we still see far too many consumers worldwide that do not have up-to-date protection either because they cannot afford it, are concerned about the impact the suites will have on the performance of their PCs, or because they simply do not realize their AV software is not up to date.”

Offering its software for free, said Microsoft, “will remove some of the barriers in the way of consumers having quality anti-malware protection today.”

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