Tuning devices from the cloud with Intune

The web-based administration console in Windows Intune provides simplified management of client computers in your organization, including Windows, Windows RT, Windows Phone 8, Apple iOS, and Android devices. You can upload and publish software packages, configure and deploy management and security policies, and hardware and software computer inventory without on-premises infrastructure. Continue reading

Microsoft’s new Anti-virus rolls out today(June 23, 2009)

Today  is the day Microsoft is availing its brand new anti-virus called “Microsoft Security Essentials” for download (for the first 75,000 users ) to the people in US, Brazil, Israel and China for the beta testing. I feel disappointed that this date is not for us (people of Nepal). May be we will get to download and enjoy this product which was earlier codenamed ‘Morro’ around the end of this year, 2009.

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Microsoft Security Essentials(MSE) is expected to tackle viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojans as I have told you this in my earlier blog post about this product. It is crystal clear that MSE is gonna be absolutely a free Microsoft product, however, Microsoft will not give Security Essentials to everyone who wants it, that is to say, PCs running a copy of Windows which is “non-genuine”, cannot download a copy of the security software. Further, this is a basic antivirus, antispyware program that has a simplistic interface and consumes less memory and disk space than commercial security applications like those from vendors such as Symantec and Kaspersky.

While OneCare, which was Microsoft’s earlier security tool and now in the verge of it’s scrapping, offered a Managed Firewall, PC Performance Tuning, Data Backup and Restore, Multi-PC Management, and Printer Sharing, MSE is rather closer to Forefront Client Security, Microsoft’s antivirus product for the enterprise.

The important Features and performances of MSE are:
  • Remove most-prevalent malware
  • Remove known viruses
  • Real-time anti-virus protection
  • Remove known spyware
  • Real-time anti-spyware protection

During the MSE installation, Windows Defender is actually disabled as it is no longer needed with MSE installed. Below you can see two screenshots, with the first showing MSE when everything is perfect while the second shows that a threat has been detected.

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I have some more technical details here for you as well. To grasp the deeper insight it’s essential to know that MSE’s engine is actually identical to the one that comes with Forefront Client Security. In fact, Microsoft uses the same engine for all of its security products(as said in my previous blog post). Thus, engine updates to MSE will be delivered at the same time as they are delivered to Forefront. Signature updates, on the other hand, can be delivered at different times and frequencies than Microsoft’s other security software like windows defender. New virus signatures for MSE will be downloaded automatically on a daily basis.

One of the most interesting features for MSE is Dynamic Signature Service (DSS). Like, when MSE detects that a file is making suspicious actions (such as unexpected network connections, attempting to modify some crucial parts of the system, or downloading known malicious content) and there is no virus signature for it, MSE will send a profile of the suspected malware to Microsoft’s servers. If there is a new signature for it, one that has yet to be sent out to the MSE client, MSE will be told how to clean the file. It should be emphasized that this communication will only occur for malware found that is not in the current signatures. This is a completely new feature and indeed the next version of Forefront will also use DSS.

Of course, security aside, the next most important part of security software is undoubtedly the performance. Since MSE doesn’t include many of the features of OneCare, this is an area that Microsoft has a chance to excel in. In fact, the company includes three features in MSE to keep it light: CPU throttling (the system will remain responsive to the user’s tasks), idle-time scanning (scans and updates use a low-priority thread and only run when the PC is idle), as well as smart caching and active memory swapping (virus signatures not in use are not loaded into memory).

Your fundamental system requirement for MSE to function properly in your machine are:

  • For Windows XP, a PC with a CPU having clock speed of at least 500MHz and at least 256MB of RAM
  • For Windows Vista and Windows 7, a PC with a CPU having clock speed of at least 1.0GHz and at least 1GB of RAM
  • VGA (display): 800×600 or higher
  • Storage: 140MB of available hard-disk space
  • An Internet connection is required for installation and to download the latest virus and spyware definitions.

Yes, the other important thing I  want to leave here is that, the genuine validation is required during the installation of MSE. Microsoft Security Essentials requires validation, which means that it won’t be available to anyone using a pirated copy of Windows. But it won’t require registration or personal information of any kind. In fact, not even your Windows Live ID in the name of your personal information is required.

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So, the only thing you need is , you agree to the EULA (which you agree for each and every software you use), then validate, download, and you’re done!

Now, lets wait together for Microsoft to make this product to be available for Nepal as well.

Morro: Microsoft’s free anti-virus software

Folks, It’s a pleasure letting you know that Microsoft is getting ready to release a long-anticipated free anti-virus called ‘Morro’ for the personal computers. But, until now no date has been fixed  on its rolling out process. But, a trial version or a beta product is speculated to be posted at its website very soon. “Morro” will be able to provide the essential protections that consumers need without overusing system resources, and will help more consumers have better protection against online threats. You know it or not but the current subscription service, Live OneCare which is not a free service, is ending its run on 30 June 2009. Pradeep

Morro is being developed by Microsoft’s Forefront security team and is based on the Forefront antivirus/anti-malware engine. The reason Microsoft is going from a paid subscription service to a free one is to make sure that Morro is installed on all consumer PCs, especially those whose users find it hard to afford or do not show interest to run antivirus/anti-malware software, that it will be able to better secure the entire Windows ecosystem. This anti-malware application will offer protection against viruses, spyware, root kits and Trojans.

The working mechanism for Morro will be such that it will function by routing all of a users Internet traffic to a Microsoft datacenter, where the Morro application will process the traffic and identify and block malware in real-time, by examining all of the rerouted traffic.

Do you think that this protection solution will work out in this world of technology where numerous types of other anti virus systems are already available? May be this is a tough task to answer for Microsoft but because the consumption of standard anti-malware is very low around the world, particularly in underdeveloped nations like Nepal, the availability of basic protection for anyone who wants it is all the more important.

Well, Morro will be architected for a smaller group that will use fewer computing resources, making it ideal for low-bandwidth scenarios or less powerful PCs and it will work on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems only.