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Morro Beta Available for the First 750,000 Registrants

| by Abel Avram Follow 12 Followers on Jun 24, 2009. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Morro, the awaited security protection solution from Microsoft has been released to the general public as Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) Beta, but only the first 750,000 registrants will be able to download it.

Microsoft announced in November last year the discontinuation of Windows Live OneCare starting on June 30, 2009, and the replacement with a new free product called Morro. In the meantime, Morro has become Microsoft Security Essentials and represents Microsoft’s free solution to protect PCs from viruses, spyware, trojans and rootkits.

MSE has many things in common with Forefront Client Security but it is targeted at consumers rather than business users, so is missing some manageability features according to Andrew Fryer, who considers that MSE’s defending capabilities “are good enough to protect 50,000+ of Microsoft’s own PC’s and laptops including mine”:

  • it can’t be controlled by group policy 
  • it isn’t integrated with System Center
  • it isn’t integrated with Network Access Protection (NAP)

The plans for MSE are:

  • The MSE beta will become available to the first 750,000 visitors to www.microsoft.com/security_essentials starting Tuesday, June 23, 2009. An English language version will be available to beta testers in the U.S. and Israel, and a Brazilian Portuguese version will be available in Brazil. Support for Simplified Chinese in China is scheduled to follow shortly after initial beta release.
  • MSE release (RTM) is scheduled for H2 2009 in 10 languages and in the following 20 markets: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • MSE will include new protection technology, as part of the Microsoft anti-malware engine, called “Dynamic Signature Service (DSS)” which delivers real-time threat signature updates to the client when it detects something suspicious, whether code or behavior. As we mentioned previously in April, Forefront Client Security 2.0 will also include DSS when it releases in H1 2010.
  • MSE is designed for consumers and will be offered as a free download separate from Windows (including Windows 7).

The beta download runs on XP, Vista, and Windows 7 32 or 64-bit.

It is interesting to see if a free security solution from Microsoft is going to seriously affect the antivirus software market. One thing is sure, MSE won’t be integrated with Windows 7 to avoid antitrust actions.

Useful links: Malware Protection Center Portal, Microsoft Malware Protection Center.

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Still available? by Al Tenhundfeld

It appears that the beta has already reached 750,000 registrants. At least, I can't download it from the URL mentioned above, and there's a discouraging message:

Thank you for your interest in joining the Microsoft® Security Essentials Beta. We are not accepting additional participants at this time. Please check back at later a date for possible additional availability.

It also isn't available in my MSDN subscriber downloads. :( In many cases, I vote for Microsoft getting out of the way and letting the community fill the needs. However, when it comes to security, I appreciate MS having a baseline solution integrated into the OS.

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