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Microsoft Steps Up For Antispyware

Malware has become one of the biggest productivity-sapping problems on desktop computers today. With new threats emerging daily, Microsoft has chosen to get into the antispyware game.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company recently purchased Giant Company Software and now has access to several of Giant's products, most notably Giant AntiSpyware, which Microsoft has morphed into Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware, a software spyware mitigation solution currently in beta testing.

Solution providers can download Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (beta) directly from Microsoft's Web site at no charge. The product combines spyware scanning with realtime protection and offers much of the same capabilities as other "free" spyware-prevention and -removal tools on the market, such as Spybot's Search and Destroy and Lavasoft's Ad-Aware.

With spyware on the forefront of both end users' and solution providers' minds, Microsoft's timing proves to be excellent with the public release of the beta of this product. What's more, solution providers can leverage the beta version as part of a service to protect desktop computers, thus garnering additional profits from installing and supporting an antispyware product.

Microsoft's interpretation of Giant's spyware product offers several advantages. First off, the product supports automatic updating, which helps keep systems protected from the latest threats with no end-user intervention required. Also, the product offers realtime protection--similar to what an antivirus product does--examining all inbound data for known spyware signatures.

Most end users will appreciate some of the privacy controls included with the product, most notably the "tracks eraser" application, which eliminates cookies, history entries and a variety of other settings from a system to prevent reconstruction of private data.

Solution providers will find Microsoft's solution easy to download and install. Everything is wizard-driven, while still offering enough integration information. This time around, Microsoft seems to have gotten a security product right. Solution providers should have no qualms about downloading and applying the beta version and should reap the benefits offered by something that is free, at least for now.

How do you battle malware? Let me know via e-mail at

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