Using Windows Defender
Using the Security Center, you can easily identify common security features and the
tasks associated with securing your operating system. With the Security Center you
can manage Windows Firewall, Windows Update, Windows Defender, and Internet
Options. You are presented with a checklist on the right side of the main window
that lists the various security features inherent to the operating system and their sta-
tus on the computer. The Security Center also lists virus protection and options
available if you have not already installed an antivirus solution on the computer.
Using Windows Defender
With the advent of so much suspicious software on the Internet freely working its
way onto individual computers, a solution was bound to surface. Microsoft has
introduced Windows Defender to champion the removal of spyware and other
unwanted software from your computer. Windows Vista uses Windows Defender by
default to aid in the identification and removal of spyware and malicious programs
from your computer. You may remember Microsoft AntiSpyware as a software pro-
gram for removing and quarantining spyware on earlier releases of Windows.
Microsoft has greatly enhanced this program with the introduction of Windows
Vista and renamed it Windows Defender.
Working with Windows Defender
Microsoft purchased an antispyware tool originally created by GIANT Company
Software, called GIANT AntiSpyware. This product originally aided in the fight
against spyware on Windows 95 and Windows 98. When Microsoft purchased the
product, it did not keep support for these older versions of Windows. However, Sun-
belt Software offers a compatible version of the GIANT product that supports these
Microsoft announced the release of Windows Defender (then called Microsoft Anti-
Spyware) at the 2005 RSA security conference. With the announcement, it stated
that the product was freely available to all valid licensed users of the Windows 2000,
XP, and Server 2003 products. It championed Microsoft AntiSpyware as a product to
help users worldwide in the fight against spyware and malware. Windows Defender
offers even greater capability than the older versions, helping to ward off infection by
employing several real-time security agents monitoring well-known areas of Win-
dows that spyware and malware change regularly.
Microsoft has also integrated support for Microsoft SpyNet into the Windows
Defender product. This support allows users to report spyware and malware to
Microsoft in an effort to help update a centralized database that Microsoft houses to
thwart the spread of spyware and malware. Microsoft uses these reports to deter-
mine the validity of the code submitted. This helps all computer users fight the
spread of malicious programs across the Internet.