Microsoft Launches Anti-Spyware Beta

Microsoft has launched a beta of its anti-spyware tool from the technology of a recent acquisition.

The launch, first reported on Microsoft tip site as code-name “Atlanta,” is essentially a version of the product from New York-based Giant Software, which Microsoft acquired last month.

At the time of the acquisition, Microsoft said its planned beta would scan a customer’s PC to seek out spyware and allow users to remove the threat. Microsoft said the beta version can be configured to block known spyware from being downloaded. It is available for users of Windows 2000 and higher.

In a note to current subscribers of the Giant AntiSpyware product, Microsoft said to use that existing software. “As part of your paid subscription, there are platform, support, and functionality features in GIANT AntiSpyware that are not included in the Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) software,” the note said. For those users, the Giant AntiSpyware supports the Windows 98SE, Windows ME, Windows NT (with Service Pack 3, 4, or 6a) operating systems.

The company said the Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) helps reduce negative effects caused by spyware including slow PC performance, annoying pop-up ads, unwanted changes to Internet settings, and unauthorized use of your private information. It said the product improves Internet browsing safety by guarding over 50 ways spyware can enter your PC.

Although Microsoft has long been associated with spyware — generally on disparaging terms because the company’s two signature products, Windows and Internet Explorer have been vulnerable to it — it hoped to transform that image with the December acquisition of Giant, a spyware detection software publisher.

As previously reported, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has stated his determination to slow the tide of spyware.

“So-called spyware is turning the Internet into a billboard. We are going to help users be in control and know what [spyware] is on their system and if they don’t want it they can get it off their system,” he told an audience last March at MSN’s Strategic Account Summit.

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