Recently, in Microsoft Blasts Own Security Essentials Product, Suggests You Need Something Else you read that Microsoft's intent for their antimalware offerings is never to top the best-of-breed list, but instead to provide a "good-enough" solution. Holly Stewart, senior program manager of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, even when as far as to suggest that Security Essentials is only a first-layer solution and that customers should pay for additional, third-party antivirus products for complete protection.

Since that report, Microsoft has been blasted publicly and internally over the statements, so Dennis Batchelder, Partner Group Program Manager for the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, has taken to the Malware Protection Center blog to clarify Microsoft's commitment to ensuring customer safety. I received an email late last night to guarantee that I was aware of the post and to help spread the word about Microsoft's investments in protecting Windows customers.

In the post (which you can read HERE), Dennis states that Microsoft's investments in Windows protection have improved the quality of antimalware detections. Microsoft is actively investing in the following areas:

  • Creating new methods to identify emerging threats and provide faster protection
  • Focusing on real threats that affect customers
  • Sharing telemetry data and samples with Antivirus partners and testers

Microsoft believes that investing in these areas will ultimately make customers safer and better protected. The methods being employed at Microsoft seem to be supported entirely by the telemetry data supplied by customers who have voluntarily opted-in to share through the Microsoft Active Protection Services (MAPS), which is part of Windows Defender and Endpoint Protection. There are two levels of membership to MAPS, other than choosing to never send antimalware information to Microsoft.

There is the…

  • Basic membership - Basic information is sent to Microsoft about detected software, including where the software came from, the actions that you apply or that is applied automatically, and whether the actions were successful.
  • Advanced membership - In addition to basic information, more information is sent to Microsoft about malicious software, spyware, and potentially unwanted software, including the location of the software, file names, how the software operates, and how it has affected your computer.

Many people aren't exactly comfortable signing up for programs that send information to Microsoft directly from their computer, but from a security standpoint, the more that participate the better the service will be. If you want Microsoft's Windows protection abilities to be robust, you might reconsider joining the program, at least at a basic level.