Security Advisor

Microsoft's Security Essentials Fails Latest Antivirus Test

Keeping up its poor showing in AV-Test's assessments, the free offering from Microsoft scored a zero when it came to protection.

Once again, Microsoft's Security Essentials has finished at the bottom of the list during AV-Test's latest evaluation of antivirus products. The German-based testing firm pitted 28 antivirus programs (a mix of free and paid offerings) against 153 pieces of zero-day malware and 12,327 pieces of known maware on Windows 7 machines in a three-part test that scores on protection, performance and usability.

The tests, which were conducted in December, not only had Microsoft's free antivirus tool (version 4.6) coming in dead last among 28 competitors, but it scored 0 out of 6 points in the category of malware protection. It fared a better when it came to performance (4 out of 6) and scored a perfect 6 points when it came to usability. However, if your antivirus is not successful in blocking threats, ease of use will never make up for that glaring weakness.

Microsoft in the past has spoken out against AV-Test's findings in the past, saying that while the testing firm rates the products based off of missed malware detections, Microsoft prioritizes protection based off of real-world malware use and potential risk to end users.

In a blog from 2013, Microsoft's Joe Blackbird said that the majority of malware tested against its products would rarely be encountered in the wild. "Our review showed that 0.0033 percent of our Microsoft Security Essentials and Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection customers were impacted by malware samples not detected during the test," wrote Blackbird. "In addition, 94 percent of the malware samples not detected during the test didn't impact our customers."

According to the latest batch of testing, when it comes to antivirus protection, you get what you pay for. That's why it's no surprise that the three products that claimed perfect scores in the category of protection are all paid products. Avira's Antivirus Pro 2015, F-Secure Internet Security 2015 and Trend Micro Internet Security 2015 were all awarded the company's seal of approval. All three blocked 100 percent of both known and new malware attacks during the December testing.

What's your go-to antivirus product of choice? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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