Two great security tools get free updates

Fred langa By Fred Langa

Two outstanding security apps, Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 and Secunia Personal Software Inspector 2.0, are now available.

The original versions of these programs were great, but the new versions are even better; they’re must-have software — and they’re still free!

Beefing up Microsoft Security Essentials

In December, after a four-month beta test, Microsoft quietly released a major revision of its impressive and free Security Essentials anti-malware tool. The new version is slowly being rolled out via Windows Update, but you can — and I think you should — grab it right away.

MSE 2.0 is a nearly total rewrite of Microsoft’s security tool. Although there are some visual changes in the software (more on that in a moment), the most significant enhancements are under the covers.

The most important change: MSE 2.0 now uses heuristic malware detection in addition to the same definitions-based malware detection methods employed by MSE 1.0. Heuristic technology has been around for years and is designed to detect new malware based on behavior, thus protecting you against threats that aren’t yet in the definitions database. MSE2 calls this feature behavior monitoring. (See Figure 1.)

MSE adds heuristic and network monitoring
Figure 1. Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 broadens its protections with the addition of behavior-based heuristic malware detection and network-traffic filtering.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2011-01-13:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.