What's up with that Microsoft Security Essentials beta build number?

More than a few testers who've downloaded the Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) beta build on June 23 have noticed that it is an older release than the one that leaked to the Web over the past week or so.

More than a few testers who've downloaded the Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) beta build on June 23 have noticed that it is an older release than the one that leaked to the Web over the past week or so.

The beta released today of MSE, the free Microsoft antivirus/anti-malware product formerly codenamed "Morro," is build 1.0.1407.00. The build of MSE that was available on torrents last week was 1.0.2140.0.

I asked Microsoft why the "new" beta is a build older than the one that leaked. A spokesperson sent the following response:

"The Microsoft Security Essentials Beta build 1.0.1407.00 available to consumers in the U.S., Brazil, and Israel at www.microsoft.com/security_essentials is the most current version available for public download. An earlier leaked build was derived from the core Microsoft Security Essentials code and will be used for further testing, however this branch does not represent the newest beta code available to users." (Note: The spokesperson means the newest officially sanctioned test release, as the build last week is, indeed, more recent.)

Some testers who downloaded the leaked MSE said they were unable to download today's MSE beta, and were receiving messages telling them they had a more recent MSE test build already on their systems. Microsoft is advising those testers to uninstall the more recent, "unauthorized" build if they want to download the sanctioned beta build.

I also have heard from a tester who said there is a way around the country-limitation Microsoft has imposed on the MSE beta.

Technically, the MSE beta is supposed to be downloadable only by testers in the U.S., Brazil and Israel (with China to be added to the list of supported test countries soon). But one reader in the Netherlands notes he was able to get the bits using a browser other than Internet Explorer. (He had success getting the MSE bits using Chrome and Firefox, as screen shots on his Web site show.)

I've asked Microsoft about this loophole. No word back so far.

Testers: What else have you noticed so far about MSE?

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