AOL Releasing Free Security Monitor
AOL is releasing free software to automatically check whether you have the
latest security protection on your Windows computer.
The Active Security Monitor software is part of AOL's expansion into security
services. The company is expected to soon announce its own for-pay security
suite, competing with the products from Microsoft Corp., Symantec Corp., McAfee
Inc. and others.
The monitor, launching Thursday, checks for the presence of firewall, anti-virus
and anti-spyware programs. It makes sure you have the latest security updates
for those programs and for the Windows operating system. The monitor also tells
you if your Internet Explorer browser isn't properly configured.
"Most people don't have all of the core security protections they need
and, worse, don't realize how vulnerable they are," John McKinley, president
of AOL's Digital Services division, said in a statement.
The AOL tool goes beyond Microsoft's Windows Security Center in several ways,
including checking home-network settings, looking for potentially threatening
file-sharing software and generating an overall safety score.
The program will identify individual areas needing attention but won't automatically
update the security programs for you.
AOL, the Internet unit of Time Warner Inc., also is working on a set of internally
developed and third-party security tools for Internet users, similar to the
free products it now offers paid subscribers. AOL won't provide pricing and
other details before an official announcement of a "beta" test in
a few weeks.