Microsoft is expected to release a beta version of its first dedicated anti-spyware package on 16 January, a month after acquiring anti-spyware company GIANT.
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The anti-spyware will be released to users of Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 for their evaluation.
The software will use GIANT’s signature database technology, to protect, detect and remove new and modified spyware threats as they are unleashed on the internet, Microsoft said.
Spyware code is inadvertently downloaded by users when they visit some websites, and is used by advertisers to track sites visited by users or hackers attempting to glean sensitive user information. The processing code can also degrade the performance of users’ machines.
The move by Microsoft is designed to complement the increased security features bundled in its Windows XP Service Pack 2 software, which includes a pop-up stopper and a feature for Internet Explorer which prevents a user’s taskbar being taken over by spyware and adware programs.
Mike Nash, Microsoft corporate vice-president of the security business and technology unit, said, "Spyware is a serious and growing problem for PC users, and customers have made it clear that they want Microsoft to deliver effective solutions to protect against the threat."