One of Microsoft's unsung heroes Microsoft Security Essentials has just been updated.
After a four-month beta program, (MSE) 2.0 has been released. It improves the heuristic scanning engine, adds Windows Firewall integration and allows network traffic inspection. Earlier versions of the software had proved popular because it was quiet but effective.
However what had kept it technologically behind other Anti-virus gear was that it relied mainly on antimalware definitions. The improved heuristic engine makes it even better at detecting threats, although it might come up with a few more false positives.
Changes to the Windows Firewall are minor, it lets you tweak Microsoft's firewall from inside MSE. The network inspection feature lets you see the traffic as you browse by plugging yourself into the networking subsystem and monitor any network traffic, even whatever is allowed through the firewall.
It uses the Windows Filtering Platform in Windows Vista and Windows 7 but Windows XP can't use it. MSE also integrates with Internet Explorer to better protect against Web-based threats by preventing malicious scripts from running. Version 1.0 only detected such scripts when they were written to IE's cache.