Anti-Malware Engineering Team

This blog provides information about what's happening in the anti-malware technology team at Microsoft. We're the team that builds the core antivirus, antispyware, anti-rootkit, and related technology, which is then used across a number of Microsof


What's in a name?? A lot!! Announcing Windows Defender!

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Every week seems like a big week for us in the engineering team working on our anti-malware technology. However, last week was especially important in a sentimental way. We got the final name for the cool technology our team has been developing for Windows. 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". Windows Defender is about what Windows will do for customers, defending them from spyware and other unwanted software. Our solution has really been about more than just the standard definition of "spyware". 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.

Making the engineering change from "Windows AntiSpyware" to "Windows Defender" took a lot of careful coordination across our team to ensure that the strings in the UI got changed, the help files all got updated, registry keys, file names and properties, as well as a couple of images all got changed. All this work was completed and tested last Thursday, and is currently making its way through our build systems in Windows to make it into the main build environment, where official builds come from. We're pretty excited by the name, and by the sleek new UI and other improvements we've been making in it to help make Windows Vista the best operating system around! But Windows Defender is about a lot more than just a name change. The engine is now moved to a system service, and signatures are delivered over Windows Update. The detection mechanisms have also been radically improved by applying to spyware threats all the great detection technology we use in our antivirus engine.

As part of this engineering milestone, we've also started to prime the Windows Update software distribution channels with signatures for Windows Defender. This is important so the signatures are available when we ship the next beta. So, for enterprise and corporate customers that are using Windows Server Update Services, you will start seeing "Windows Defender" in the product category dialog as well as a new classification called "Definition Updates". So, now you'll know what that means.

In addition to the work that my team's been doing to develop this for Windows Vista over the past many months, it will also be available to existing Windows XP users, replacing the current Windows AntiSpyware technology we've been shipping in beta since January. More details on that in a future post. If you're not using our current Windows AntiSpyware beta, please give that a try!

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. Hopefully in the next few days I can even get a screen shot posted for you!

Best wishes,

  • Will it remove the sony rootkit

  • You trusted the renaming of Microsoft AntiSpyware to the same guys that came up with "Vista"? Well, that'd explain the result anyway. Windows AntiSpyware might not have had the sexiest name on the block, but it was to the point and descriptive.
    Of course, Land Rover are going to love the new name too. they've only been manking a Defender for fifty years.

  • The new name is fantastic. I have been installing and testing the MS Anti-Spyware since February and I really like it. it is by far the most comprihensive anti spyware tool out there.
    I can't wait for the next release!

  • Didn't I play this game in the 80s?

  • Well, I really agree with X, the one who wrote the first comment. I think Windows Defender will not be as clear as the Windows AntiSpyware name used today. Windows AntiSpyware evokes the protection against all kinds of Spywares. But, as the product evolves, if this product on it's release time, turns out to be different from an only AntiSpyware software, since it protects the system against a lot more than only Spyware, then I think this is the apropriate name.

  • i really like your engine ...!!
    (Nice technique...)
    But i dont like the new name !!!

  • I think the new name sound mutch more better. Perhaps there will be an coupe of new names like
    Windows Defender, Windows Live , Windows whatever...

  • I like the new name, but I liked the old one aswell.

    Im really glad that Windows Defender will include detection and removal of rootkits, cause it seems like one of the worst security risks in Windows today. The risk is of course higher than it should be because a, normally respected, company like Sony are using the rootkit technology. Hopefully Windows Defender will both detect and remove Sonys rootkits.

    Keep up the good work

  • So will Windows Defender remove Sony's rootkit-based DRM ;)

  • I like the name Windows Defender far more than Windows Anti-Spyware. It gives you a nice umbrella to grow the services your team can provide. It's also consumer friendly. Since Microsoft has a huge deal with Marvel on X-Box, perhaps you can get them to create a character for you!

    Since Windows Defender is now an integrated service, I imagine that it will be available for both 32-bit and 64-bit builds. Correct?

  • I sure hope it detects removes and blocks all rootkits -- including sony's DRM rootkit malware thats been in the news recently.

  • This all sounds great, but when can we expect a enterprise version or similar product that is centrally managed.

    like someone else said, as long as it works I could care less about the name.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Its a great name.

    Like Jasong said, its much more positive than antispyware. When i think of "antispyware" and "antivirus" it sounds like a medicine you would take AFTER your infected.
    "Defender" has connotations of fending off malware BEFORE infection.

    Thumbs up :)

  • OK. So now it has a name. When does it get released?

  • The name will do fine, but using the Windows Update site leaves a lot to be desired. There are too many hoops to jump through each time it is accessed. The changes in July completely did in the automatic updates that were already setup, and too many reboots were necessary to get it back again.
    Bring on more Defender, but let it do it's own auto-updates.

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