Microsoft is currently gearing up to release Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0, the successor to version 1.0, which was developed under the Morro codename.
But the Redmond company is not looking to rebrand the free security solution that it’s offering for genuine Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP, no matter what kind of Security Essentials flavors users might come across in the wild.
Case in point: Security Essentials 2011. Security Essentials 2011 is not Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0, or MSE 1.0, for that matter.
Some users, including many victims of scareware, might already be familiar with Security Essentials 2010, a rogue antivirus that the Redmond company tackled earlier this year.
Well, Security Essentials 2011 is also a fake antivirus, completely useless, in the sense that it is only designed to scare users into thinking their PCs are infected so that they will pay for a full license of the rogue AV.
Obviously, there are no actual threats that Security Essentials 2010 or Security Essentials 2011 detect, not that they’re capable of detecting genuine malware.
“New rogue security programs seem to be popping up all the time, but when we dig a little deeper what we see is mostly just new variants of the same old rogues.
“Five months ago, we wrote about a rogue we call Win32/Fakeinit that used the name "Security Essentials 2010". We expected to see the "2011" version appear at some point,” revealed Microsoft’s Hamish O'Dea.
Users should understand that Security Essentials 2011 is the successor of Security Essentials 2010 and that it has nothing to do with Microsoft.
“Apart from the name, not much has changed. In fact, it still uses the same file name it used to, "se2010.exe". It seems even rogue creators have trouble keeping up with their own name changes sometimes,” O'Dea added.
Attackers are simply copying Microsoft Security Essentials with their malicious code in an attempt to give it a feeling of authenticity and pass it for genuine antivirus. This is not the case.
The Redmond company recently released a Beta Refresh of Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0, and is reportedly planning to have the final version available to users by the end of 2010.
Customers should keep in mind that Microsoft Security Essentials is offered free of charge, and that going forward, MSE 2.0 will also not require users to pay for a license.
Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 is available for download here.