Microsoft Is Extending The Life Of EMET, Its Free Windows Security Tool

Image: Microsoft

The Microsoft Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) was first released to protect the Windows operating system against software exploits in the wild and has been widely used by large organisations. After seven years, EMET is showing its age and was due to be retired in January next year. But Microsoft has pushed EMET's end of life date back by 18 months based on customer feedback. Here's what you need to know.

Previously, Microsoft had announced that it will be ending support for EMET on 27 January 2017. But after consulting with customers, the date has now been moved back 18 months to 31 July 2018.

Aimed mainly at system administrators, EMET was a useful tool in the days when Microsoft was releasing a new Windows OS every few years, which meant security updates were far and few in between. The free tool served as an extra layer of defence against malware attacks that get past firewalls.

The problem with EMET is that it's not baked into the operating system, which meant the lprotection it could provide was limited and could potentially affect the performance of the machines it was running on.

With Windows 10, Microsoft has baked in a bunch of security tools that provide protection against software exploits. The 'as-a-service' nature of the OS also means security updates can be rolled out more regularly.

"And, of course, Windows 10 includes all of the mitigation features that EMET administrators have come to rely on such as DEP, ASLR, and Control Flow Guard (CFG) along with many new mitigations to prevent bypasses in UAC and exploits targeting the browser," Microsoft principal lead program manager for the OS security team said.

There really isn't a need for EMET to exist if Microsoft realises its ambition to get everybody using Windows 10. But what happens if you don’t want to use Windows 10? You probably won't have a choice since Windows 7 and 8.1 support will end in 2020 and 2023, respectively. For now, you can keep using EMET. Now you have more time to find an alternative.

[Microsoft blog]


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