Category Archives: Security

How to turn on Windows Defender

When you buy a new computer with Windows 8 preinstalled, usually the manufacturer will bundle their own Antivirus utility. Usually a trial version that will last for a month. After which, you will need to purchase a license/subscription to continue using it.

Manufacturers usually include the Antivirus just to lower the cost of the system since the OEM might have a deal with third party to bundle their software as a way of advertisement. Of course, when that Antivirus utility expires, you will have to pay to continue using it. Fortunately, Windows 8 includes a built in Antivirus utility called Windows Defender, not to be confused with Windows Defender in previous versions of Windows. This is actually a successor to Microsoft Security Essentials and is based on the same code base.

OEM’s will disable it when they bundle a third party Antivirus utility such as Norton, McAfee or Avast. The great thing is, when the Antivirus trial has expired, you simply enable Windows Defender and use it as your default Antivirus alongside the other built in defences that comes with Windows 8 such as Secure Boot, UAC, ASLR. What I had discovered though is, Windows Defender is usually not turned on automatically when you remove the AV trial and we will take a look at doing that in this article.

First, Uninstall the Antivirus trial

To avoid conflicts, you should uninstall the trial Antivirus. Lets take a quick look at doing so:

Press Windows key + X

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Click Programs and Features

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Select the trial Antivirus utility you have installed, then click Uninstall/Change. You might have a different one installed, I have Norton for example.

uninstall AV

This will launch the setup wizard which will guide you through uninstalling your trial Antivirus. Follow the on screen instructions, a reboot might be required.

uninstall AV

During the uninstallation, you might receive a notification indicating virus protection is turned off. You can use this opportunity to enable Windows Defender right away. If not, follow the next steps to enable it yourself manually.

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Open Action Center

Press Windows key + W
Type: action center
Hit Enter

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Expand the Security menu

Click the Turn on now button for Windows Defender.

Windows Defender should automatically turn on and prompt you update. Do so right away, as the definitions tend to be out of date by many months or years (depending on when you read this).

uninstall AV 3

That’s it, you now have a free built in Antivirus utility you don’t have to pay for.

Related:

A Quick look at using Windows Defender on Windows 8

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Windows Vista RTM Support Ends

Microsoft has informed customers still running the Release to Manufacturer build of Windows Vista that they are ending support and encouraging a move to either Windows Vista Service Pack 1 or 2.

This time, Windows Vista with no service packs installed (sometimes referred to as RTM or SP0) will be reaching end of support on April 13th. If you need a refresher of what this means, or what steps you need to take, I’d recommend reading through our February blog post on this subject.

Additionally, the Microsoft Support Lifecycle team recently announced important changes to the Service Pack Support policy. I want to take a moment to clarify the details of this policy change and highlight some of the ways that this will improve the overall customer and partner experience.

Under the former Service Pack Support policy, when a service pack reached the end of support, customers were no longer eligible to receive troubleshooting help from Microsoft Customer Service and Support, including assisted telephone support, security updates, or non-security hotfixes. Customers requiring assistance from Microsoft had to upgrade to a supported service pack to be eligible for any support.

Learn more here

Windows Vista RTM was made available in mid November 2006. Microsoft has released post updates for Windows Vista RTM since then, but recent Service Packs such as 1 and 2 introduces added improvements in security and stability. Also, Microsoft’s latest desktop OS Windows 7 does not support in place upgrades from Windows Vista RTM.

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First set of Security Updates available for Windows 7

Windows 7 users, make sure your automatic updates feature in Windows Update is turned on, Microsoft released its routine set of updates for Windows today which is done every second Tuesday of the month.

Overview

A security issue has been identified that could allow an unauthenticated remote attacker to cause the affected system to stop responding. You can help protect your system by installing this update from Microsoft. After you install this update, you may have to restart your system.

Downloads:

Windows 7 32 Bit here
Windows 7 64 bit here
Windows Server 2008 R2 here
Windows Server 2008 R2 here

For other versions of Windows affected: Windows XP 32-bit (733KB), Windows XP 64-bit (1.1MB), Windows Server 2003 32-bit (684KB), Windows Server 2003 64-bit (1.1MB), Windows Server 2003 for Itanium (1.6MB), Windows Vista 32-bit (1.4MB), Windows Vista 64-bit (2.1MB), Windows Server 2008 32-bit (1.4MB), Windows Server 2008 64-bit (2.1MB), Windows Server 2008 for Itanium (2.4MB)

Another set of updates for Windows 7 are Cumulative Security Update of ActiveX Kill Bits (973525):

General Information

Executive Summary

This security update addresses a privately reported vulnerability that is common to multiple ActiveX controls and is currently being exploited. The vulnerability that affects ActiveX controls that were compiled using the vulnerable version of the Microsoft Active Template Library (ATL) could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted Web page with Internet Explorer, instantiating the ActiveX control. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.

This security update is rated Critical for all supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP, Important for all supported editions of Windows Vista and Windows 7, Moderate for all supported editions of Windows Server 2003, and Low for all supported editions of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2. For more information, see the subsection, Affected and Non-Affected Software, in this section.

Learn more here

Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems
Windows 7 for x64-based Systems
Windows Server 2008 R2 for x64-based Systems*
Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-based Systems

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Update x2: Introducing ‘Microsoft Security Essentials’

Has a nice ring to it, don’t? Yesterday I blogged about an early leak of what appeared to be Microsoft’s forthcoming AntiVirus and AntiSpyware technology, code named ‘Morro’. That build has now been confirmed as rather old with the release (leak) of a new build carrying the said to be official brand name "Microsoft Security Essentials’. Arstechnica’s One Microsoft Way blog provides a thorough gallery of screenshots detailing everything from setup to working in a much slicker UI than what we saw yesterday.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Learn more here

What I find most surprising yet very welcoming about Security Essentials is the size of the installer, ranging from 3 to 7 MBs depending on which Windows platform you install it on. I honestly hope Microsoft provides a single 32 and 64 bit installer instead of the array of installers for XP, XP x64, Vista x64, Vista x86. The interface looks clean, easy to use and navigate. If it works as good as it looks, then I will gladly replace my Symantec EndPoint subscription.

It is not known whether Security Essentials will come bundled with Windows 7, but I personally wouldn’t mind as I believe just like other functionality that has been consumed by operating system’s over the years, security technology such as Antivirus and AntiSpyware should be a fundamental part of the OS. Did I mention how small in size the installer is too? I can’t wait to test this utility! I hope the Windows Live Team includes this in the next version of Windows Live Essentials too since it would complete the suites focus on providing a end to end set of experiences for consumers.

Mary Jo Foley of ZDNET’s All About Microsoft blog provides some further details about Microsoft Security Essentials and its availability, click here to learn more.

Meanwhile, Ed Bott of ZDNET’s Microsoft Report has an early preview of the software here

PC Magazine also has an early review of Microsoft Security Essentials here

Update:

Elinor Mills of CNET’s Security blog notes that the beta of Microsoft Security Essentials will be made available next week, June 23rd.

Related

Microsoft’s Antivirus solution of to-‘morro’

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Microsoft’s Antivirus solution of to-‘morro’

Neowin has a nice scoop on the next generation of Antivirus and Antispyware technology that Microsoft plans to make available to Windows XP, Vista and 7 customers in the near future for free. An anonymous tipster provided the folks at Neowin with some screenshots of ‘Microsoft Morro’ (which is most likely the code name), showing what looks like a hybrid version of Microsoft’s current AntiSpyware utility ‘Windows Defender’.

Microsoft ‘Morro’

Read the entire article here

Back in 2005 Microsoft launched its Windows Live OneCare security service (once codenamed ‘A1’) which included a variety of utilities such as Antivirus, AntiSpyware (Windows Defender), Backup capabilities and PC maintenance tools such as Defragger and Disk Cleanup. Version 1 was released in May 2006, version 1.5 October 2006, version 2 November 2007 and the latest version 2.5 in July of 2008. Most of these technologies have since been consumed by the Windows operating system or integrated into the Windows Live Essentials suite. Microsoft announced that Windows Live OneCare would be discontinued in June 2009.

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Security Update for Windows 7 BETA – (KB958690)

Quote:

Overview

A security issue has been identified that could allow an unauthenticated remote attacker to compromise your system and gain control over it. You can help protect your system by installing this update from Microsoft. After you install this update, you may have to restart your system. This update is provided to you and licensed under the Windows 7 Prerelease License Terms.

Learn more here

Download for Windows 7 32-bit here

Download for Windows 7 64-bit here

This security update also applies to previous releases of Windows including: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003, and Server 2008. Learn more here

Previously:

Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 Application Compatibility updates
IE8 Reliability Update for Windows 7 Beta Now Available
Microsoft Hardware Support for Windows 7 BETA

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New Antivirus Support for Windows 7: Panda Antivirus Pro 2009

For those of you running Windows 7, you might notice you are limited to what has been recommended by the OS so far. A number of well known brands such as Kaspersky (which I am using), AVG, McAfee and Symantec all have supported utilities for Windows 7, now you can add another to the list:

“GLENDALE, Calif., March 3 /PRNewswire/ — Panda Security, a leading provider of IT security, today unveiled a beta version of Panda Antivirus Pro 2009 compatible with Windows 7. Now all users of the beta version of Microsoft’s new operating system will be able to install the best protection against malware at no cost and with minimal resource consumption. This beta version can be downloaded here: http://www.pandasecurity.com/windows7/

Learn more here

Resources:

Windows 7 security software providers

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