Friday, March 19, 2010

MSE Kills Energizer Hackers!

I think I mentioned in one of my gadget posts before that unifying my gadget chargers is part of my "gadgetry vision" so that I don't have to carry so many chargers when travel. Following that I have a requirement for all my new gadgets to comply, which is to be USB chargeable.

I bought a wireless mouse previously, I had a question on how am I going to charge the batteries if they drain out during trip? Ask no more, I got the answer right away...


A snapshot of Energizer DUO's website. This is the real charger I have...


A 2 hour charge energizes the wireless mouse for months before it needs another charge. It works perfectly~~ until I read this article at Engadget...


Uh oh! I recalled I have it installed on my XP machine. I then thought "Hmmm... What happen to Microsoft Security Essentials that I installed few months ago?!" I open up the MSE GUI, go to the History tab...


Phew! MSE is working in the background. I previously scheduled an update follow by scan everyday at 2am. But wait a second I asked myself, when was this alert first published? I then dug further to CERT website and found out the alert was notified on 2 Mar and published on 5 Mar. Okay, from my scan result above, 7 Mar 2am in GMT+8 is 6 Mar noon time in US. Meaning, MSE could only detect this vulnerability through virus definition dated 6 Mar or I could have missed the update on 5 Mar. So I browsed to Microsoft Protection Center, wanted to know when Microsoft or MSE respond to it...


Released on 6 Mar, meaning MSE could only work on a patch after CERT published the article (not notified date listed in the article). I compared the release date for other AV products like McAfee and Symantec, MSE was a day later than both companies above (5 Mar). Although it appears MSE lagged a day in response, but I think that might not be the case as Symantec updated its virus definition just 3 hours to 6 Mar (as per link above). IMHO, MSE a free AV does its job like other commercial AV products. But I'm a fussy bugger, I asked myself again, "hmmm... can MSE do preventive job not to allow the software to be installed?" I then ran a scan on the folder where I still kept the installer...


Good result! MSE detected it! No blame to MSE to miss this folder in past scans 'cause this folder isn't on any of my Windows machines but NAS. I don't know if other AV products would yield the same result, but at least MSE keeps a fussy user like me happy with it.

One lesson we can learn from here is not to simply install any non-essential software onto your workstation. Most of the times there is bundled software when you buy gadget and almost all the time the software is not required at all for the gadget to function and does not provide new features. I always install new software onto my XP machine which is used as lab machine to try out all new software before I decide to load it onto my production machine. Like this Energizer software, I find it useless...


It features a timer showing remaining charging time whereas the LED on the charger also provides the charging status...


Without the timer but do I really care how long charging time is since I know it's a 2-hour quick charger?

Last, thumbs up to MSE! Thumbs down to Energizer!