Microsoft delivers two new Windows security betas

Summary:Microsoft is rolling out two new Windows security beta builds on July 20: A new test build of its free Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus/antimalware product, and another of its paid Forefront Endpoint Protection product.The new Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) beta is available via the Microsoft Connect site.

Microsoft is rolling out two new Windows security beta builds on July 20: A new test build of its free Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus/antimalware product, and another of its paid Forefront Endpoint Protection product.

The new Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) beta is available via the Microsoft Connect site. It is available in English in the U.S. in Israel, and will be available in Brazilian Portuguese in Brazil on July 20. (An MSE version in simplified Chinese is coming later this year, according to the company.) Microsoft is limiting the number of participants, but hasn't said to how many.

The new MSE beta includes:

  • Windows Firewall integration (allowing users to turn on or off the Windows Firewall during setup)
  • Internet Explorer integration for additional protection against Web-based attacks
  • An updated anti-malware engine with "enhanced detection and cleanup capabilities with better performance," according to the Softies
  • Network inspection system functionality to help fend off network-based exploits

Microsoft officials say they expect to release the final version of the updated MSE to the Web later this calendar year. Last month, the company pushed to users of the current MSE release a number of new updates.

Microsoft also is making available today a beta of Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP), the successor to Forefront Client Security. Last year, the company decided to do a reset with FEP, making it based on System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 R2. The final release of FEP is still due out in the fourth quarter of 2010, however, Microsoft officials said today.

Microsoft still hasn't announced its pricing and licensing plans for FEP, which will provide security for XP, Windows Server 2003 and all subsequent versions of Windows client and server. But company officials are talking about FEP features, which include:

  • A new antivirus engine (the same one that is in MSE)
  • New behavioral threat detection
  • Better protection against "unknown" or "zero day" threats via "behavior monitoring, emulation, and dynamic translation," company officials said
  • Windows Firewall management
  • Dynamic cloud Updates, specifically, "on-demand signature updates from the cloud for suspicious files and previously unknown malware"

Microsoft is pitching Forefront client as its security offering for business users of any size, from the smallest business to the largest enterprise. It is pitching MSE as being for consumers and not designed for business use.

Topics: Networking, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Security, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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