McAfee answers Microsoft's OneCare challenge

Santa Clara (CA) - Microsoft's recent release of the Windows Live OneCare security offering has reset the rules of the security software business: Traditional security software developers are forced to upgrade their products. McAfee is among the first to answer with a beta version of its next-gen security suite that addresses new and emerging threats such as identity theft and rootkits.

It's no secret that competition, at least in most cases, is a great benefit to the consumer. It drives innovation forward and pricing down. And if you haven't seen competitive effects in the past years because of locked situations in traditional IT market environments, than these days are true eye openers: Google successfully changed the Internet search and advertising business, Firefox has changed the way we look at web browsers and AMD is causing more than just a headache for Intel, just to name a few.

In more recent developments, Microsoft has brought some new ideas into the security software business with its Windows Live OneCare package. And it may be more than just coincidence that we suddenly see an accelerated development pace and more innovation in how users will be able to protect their computers from security threats.

A first glimpse of what to expect from the security software industry was provided today by McAfee with beta versions of its upcoming packages "Total Protection" and "Virus Scan Plus." It's not just about virus protection, anti-spyware and firewalls anymore. McAfee's software will defend users by virtually any common and currently emerging security threats - and go beyond the functionality of OneCare.

McAfee claims that its software will safeguard users not only against viruses, worms, trojan horses and spyware, but will also detect phishing scams to prevent identity theft and identify and kill rootkits, which are typically used to hide the existence of malware. Also new in the package is "Safe Search," which promises to warn users about potentially dangerous Web sites that have engaged in "social engineering" attacks such as spyware, adware, spam and online scams."

Just like any other modern security software applications, McAfee's software does not require any user interaction to protect a computer system. However, the company claims that manual scans, live updates and patches now can be handler in an easier way than before. And, also in a direct response to OneCare, which can run on up to three computers with one license, McAfee as integrated "network-aware capabilities" in the new package to "manage all the PCs on the home network, providing automated, encrypted security capabilities and allowing families to easily share printers and files."

The "Total Protection" package also comes with features to protect a Wi-Fi network from attacks, increase system performance by cleaning clutter off of PCs as well as a backup solution.

Users interested in testing the beta can download the software at (registration required.) According to McAfee, the final version is scheduled to launch sometime this summer. Pricing has not been announced.

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