AntiSpyware Named 'Windows Defender'

Microsoft's Windows AntiSpyware application, which entered beta testing last January, has been given a new name: Windows Defender.

"The name, after long consideration by our product marketing and branding folks, is Windows Defender! What's really cool about this name is that it's more positive than Windows AntiSpyware," wrote Jason Garms, group program manager for Microsoft's anti-malware team. "Windows Defender is about what Windows will do for customers, defending them from spyware and other unwanted software."

Windows AntiSpyware came from Microsoft's acquisition of GIANT Software. The Redmond company has bulked up the tool with its "Strider" rootkit detection engine and is integrating the technology directly into Windows Vista - much to the ire of some partners.

"Our solution has really been about more than just the standard definition of 'spyware'," Garms explained. "We've always said we will provide visibility and control, as well as protection, detection and removal from other potentially unwanted software, including rootkits, keystroke loggers and more."

Alongside the branding change, Microsoft's anti-malware engine has been moved to a Windows service and signatures will be delivered through Windows Update. Starting with the next beta release, "Definition Updates" will be listed as available downloads on the site.

The changes, including a new user interface, are slated for inclusion in Windows Vista. However, Garms said they will also be available to Windows XP users through an update that replaces the current Windows AntiSpyware beta. No timeframe was given on a new release, however.

"I hope you like the name, and we can't wait to get Windows Defender into your hands to try. If you have any thoughts about the name, I'd be happy to read your feedback, and share it with out team," said Garms.

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