Is Microsoft Security Essentials Worthwhile?

Microsoft has released a beta (test) version of its upcoming Security Essentials program, which is scheduled to be rolled out to consumers in September. Microsoft Security Essentials is, essentially, a stripped-down version of the ill-fated OneCare. The question is, will it do a better job of helping consumers protect their computers from viruses and spyware?

My guess is, not really. Sure it's free, but so are other programs with better reputations for removing the gunk from your computer. Even so, most free programs do not offer the complete protection of a full-fledged security suite. My fear is that the presence of Microsoft Security Essentials may lure some consumers into complacency, with the impression that their computers are adequately protected when they're not. I already see this with programs like Windows Defender and the monthly Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool, neither of which are suitable replacements for real security software.

Of additional concern, and the reason I'm mentioning this now even though the software's still beta, is that scammers will undoubtedly glom onto this just as they grab any popular headline in their attempts to con you into fake antivirus software. Just because something claims to be "that new software from Microsoft," don't believe it unless you're downloading from a bona fide site.

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Posted byTriona Guidry at 2:29 PM  

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