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Malicious Software Removal Tool Makes Debut

Microsoft on Tuesday provided the first version of the malicious software removal tool that it first promised last week.

The Microsoft Windows malicious software tool is designed to bundle virus, worm, trojan and other malware removal utilities in one handy place for Windows users. In the past, Microsoft has occasionally delivered the tools as one-off removal utilities for specific malware, such as Download.Ject, Blaster or MyDoom.

Anti-virus vendors typically offer similar virus removal tools on a one-off basis and provide them as free downloads even to non-customers.

Although Microsoft attributes the intellectual capital that gives it the capability to do the removal tool to its acquisition in 2003 of anti-virus vendor GeCAD Software, the tool is not to be confused with anti-virus scanners such as those sold by Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro, Sophos and others.

Microsoft plans to update the malicious software removal tool on the second Tuesday of each month, when the company ordinarily releases all security patches for the month. The first version of the tool includes removal tools for Blaster, Sasser, MyDoom, DoomJuice, Zindos, Berbew (a.k.a. Download.Ject), Gaobot and Nachi.

The tool is available from the Microsoft Download Center, through Automatic Updates or at www.microsoft.com/malwareremove.

Microsoft is careful to position the free tool as a complement to traditional antivirus technologies, both to reassure anti-virus vendors who have been nervous since Microsoft's GeCAD acquisition and to avoid having users think the tool is protecting them from virus infection.

"The Microsoft Windows malicious software removal tool is designed to augment traditional antivirus solutions to provide more complete protection against viruses, worms and variants. As with Microsoft's earlier removal tools, the new solution incorporates the knowledge and technology gained through Microsoft's acquisition of GeCAD Software in 2003," Mike Nash, vice president of Microsoft's Security Business and Technology Unit, said in a statement.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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