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Microsoft Security Essentials Fails Certification Again

By - Source: CNET | B 46 comments

Microsoft's security suite has failed AV-TEST certification for a second time in a row.

At the end of November, German anti-virus lab AV-TEST published the results of tests conducted with twenty-four of the latest anti-virus programs for home users. Twenty-three products received AV-TEST certification when used with Windows 7, but Microsoft's own Security Essentials suite failed. Now two months later, the suite has failed certification again.

The lab publishes tests results every two months, and for this latest installment for November and December, the firm evaluated 25 consumer antivirus security programs. This time around, Microsoft Security Essentials 4.1 wasn't the only one to fail certification, as it was joined by PC Tools Internet Security 2012 and AhnLab Internet Security 8.0.

According to the results, Microsoft Security Essentials 4.1 scored a 1.5 out of 6.0 in the Protection category, caused by its lower-than-average protection against 0-day malware attacks, inclusive of web and e-mail threats (Real-World Testing). Its detection of a "representative set of malware discovered in the last 2-3 months" was also lower than the industry average.

In the Repair department, Microsoft Security Essentials 4.1 scored a 3.0 out of 6.0. The suite's ability to remove all active components of widespread malware (including Rootkits and stealth malware) fell under the industry average, and its ability to detect actively running widespread malware (including Rootkits and stealth malware) also fell under the industry standard.

What's surprising here is that Microsoft Security Essentials has failed again. After all, it's deemed as the most popular security suite not only in North America, but across the world because (1) it's free and (2) it's native to the Windows platform. That said, Microsoft's in-house security suite should be at the top of the certification ranks, not along the bottom with the failures.

Dave Forstrom, director of Trustworthy Computing for Microsoft, responded to a query from CNET about the double failure. Unsurprisingly, he didn't offer any reasons as to why the software failed two consecutive certification tests.

"Microsoft believes in a defense in-depth strategy for antimalware protection that includes using Microsoft Security Essentials / Windows Defender in tandem with other appropriate security features such as SmartScreen, as well as keeping all software up-to-date," he wrote. "Our antimalware engine is designed to work in concert with these Microsoft security features to create a comprehensive security strategy. Microsoft focuses its protection efforts on what affects our customers, using real-world data collected from more than 600 million systems worldwide. We weigh these samples by severity and prevalence of malware in the wild."

Cnet points out that Microsoft Security Essentials 4.1 missed certification by a whole point in the recent certification test, a lower score than the previous failure when Microsoft missed certification by half a point.

To see the AV-TEST score for November and December, head here.

 

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Top Comments
  • 29 Hide
    Pinhedd , January 17, 2013 9:12 PM
    The best anti-virus is a smart user
  • 21 Hide
    sinfulpotato , January 17, 2013 9:28 PM
    Microsoft Security Essentials is getting poor ratings because it doesn't waste computer resources by using aggressive heuristics and machine learning techniques to identify viruses. Microsoft Security Essentials instead relies primarily on definitions. This means that anything Microsoft hasn't provided a definition for will not be caught by Microsoft Security Essentials, but it also means that Microsoft Security Essentials is a lot faster than most other anti-virus programs, and that Microsoft Security Essentials almost never gives false positives.

    With that said, I use Avast!.
  • 20 Hide
    internetlad , January 17, 2013 9:45 PM
    actually looking at this website the ratings they give the antivirus are completely non-indicative of the effectiveness. The lowest score it receives is for zero-day attacks, where it catches 71/100 infections. 2-3 month old infections it catches 92/100 and for widespread infections it catches 100/100.

    How this merits a 1.6/6 is absolutely beyond me. It makes it appear that it fails to catch over 70 percent of all viruses with that ranking.
Other Comments
  • 0 Hide
    memadmax , January 17, 2013 9:05 PM
    I'm really dissappointed that MS would take a half fast attempt at protecting its own OS...

    Oh well, whatever keeps the paid support calls coming in, huh MS?
  • -7 Hide
    everlast66 , January 17, 2013 9:09 PM
    A lot of guys delude themselves with this, that they are protected ...
  • 29 Hide
    Pinhedd , January 17, 2013 9:12 PM
    The best anti-virus is a smart user
  • 0 Hide
    wdmfiber , January 17, 2013 9:21 PM
    Microsoft believes in a defense in-depth strategy for antimalware protection that includes using Microsoft Security Essentials / Windows Defender in tandem...

    That is a bit confusing and may lead to MSE users downloading Defender. As I understand it you don't run Security Essensial and Defender together.

    http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/protect/forum/mse-protect_start/windows-defender-and-microsoft-security-essentials/5309cb8d-02e1-40e8-974f-0dcedb9ab9fd
  • 8 Hide
    internetlad , January 17, 2013 9:28 PM
    I've been using MSE on my home and both work PC's regularly and I've had nary a problem with it. It's caught enough possible infections on the PC I hook infected hard drives (so as to transfer data) to at work to gain my trust.

    I don't quite understand how they can "fail" MSE but give Bloaton 360 a big ol green checkmark. In my opinion McAfee and Norton should be completely overhauled and re-introduced to the market. Symantec makes good tools, but their AV suite needs some fat trimmed.
  • 21 Hide
    sinfulpotato , January 17, 2013 9:28 PM
    Microsoft Security Essentials is getting poor ratings because it doesn't waste computer resources by using aggressive heuristics and machine learning techniques to identify viruses. Microsoft Security Essentials instead relies primarily on definitions. This means that anything Microsoft hasn't provided a definition for will not be caught by Microsoft Security Essentials, but it also means that Microsoft Security Essentials is a lot faster than most other anti-virus programs, and that Microsoft Security Essentials almost never gives false positives.

    With that said, I use Avast!.
  • -2 Hide
    ericlw , January 17, 2013 9:29 PM
    i know it wont catch the conflicker virus.
  • 1 Hide
    LEXX911 , January 17, 2013 9:34 PM
    Don't blame Microsoft for people pirating softwares/games and executing stupid exe keygens and all the unsafe hacks they don't know about.
  • 10 Hide
    snemarch , January 17, 2013 9:34 PM
    internetladI don't quite understand how they can "fail" MSE but give Bloaton 360 a big ol green checkmark.
    Follow the money trail :-)
  • 20 Hide
    internetlad , January 17, 2013 9:45 PM
    actually looking at this website the ratings they give the antivirus are completely non-indicative of the effectiveness. The lowest score it receives is for zero-day attacks, where it catches 71/100 infections. 2-3 month old infections it catches 92/100 and for widespread infections it catches 100/100.

    How this merits a 1.6/6 is absolutely beyond me. It makes it appear that it fails to catch over 70 percent of all viruses with that ranking.
  • -7 Hide
    internetlad , January 17, 2013 9:48 PM
    popatimThe only people I know of in the past 3 years that have gotten a virus have all used MS SE. Its garbage.


    Let's consider what kind of people would save money by using a free antivirus vs. paid. If you pay for antivirus you are most likely more wealthy and either care more about your computer, or are too busy making and/or spending said money to spend time on the computer.

    If you're using free antivirus, then you're either hard up, which means most likely you will be spending more time at home due to lack of job or do not want to go out because that usually means spending money. more time on the computer means more chance of an infection.

    I'm not saying that paid antiviruses are not more effective than free antiviruses. I'm simply pointing out you're making a very narrow statement on a very expansive subject.
  • 15 Hide
    ddpruitt , January 17, 2013 9:50 PM
    The only people I know of who get malware would get it (have gotten it) even with AV software installed.

    The people who always have problems never update, download torrentz, go on questionable websites, etc. AV software is like a seatbelt, it makes the crash less severe it doesn't prevent it.
  • -8 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 17, 2013 10:22 PM
    sinfulpotatoMicrosoft Security Essentials is getting poor ratings because it doesn't waste computer resources by using aggressive heuristics and machine learning techniques to identify viruses. Microsoft Security Essentials instead relies primarily on definitions. This means that anything Microsoft hasn't provided a definition for will not be caught by Microsoft Security Essentials, but it also means that Microsoft Security Essentials is a lot faster than most other anti-virus programs, and that Microsoft Security Essentials almost never gives false positives.With that said, I use Avast!.


    Yet Windows Defender sucks up my laptop's hard drive's read performance. As soon as I run it, playing TF2 or watching a movie turns into a MACRO-stuttering fest.
  • 2 Hide
    A Bad Day , January 17, 2013 10:26 PM
    ddpruittThe only people I know of who get malware would get it (have gotten it) even with AV software installed. The people who always have problems never update, download torrentz, go on questionable websites, etc. AV software is like a seatbelt, it makes the crash less severe it doesn't prevent it.


    And sometimes, even the AV isn't updated...

    My dad still uses Windows xp SP2, Macromedia Flash 7 (I think), Java 6, and McAfee OAS 2007.

    He refuses to update to SP3 because he thinks it's a virus. How funny and sad at the same time...
  • 7 Hide
    warmon6 , January 17, 2013 10:37 PM
    popatimThe only people I know of in the past 3 years that have gotten a virus have all used MS SE. Its garbage.


    That's funny, In the same time frame, most of the people i know that get virus didn't even have AV to begin with or have an expired Norton/Mcafee. (which both is crap even when working IMO).

    After i've installed MS SE on their computer, I haven't seen those computers come back to me to be cleaned.

    Of course I also try to educate people on how to reduce the chances of getting another virus because No Matter What AV you chose, you always have a chance to get a virus that will wreck your computer.

    I like ddpruitt response on comparing AV to a seatbelt.
  • -2 Hide
    boulbox , January 17, 2013 10:41 PM
    i wonder when was the last time i actually had an infection

    Using no security since 2000.
  • 3 Hide
    merikafyeah , January 17, 2013 11:06 PM
    Microsoft can't improve MSE too much because then the other security firms will scream "anti-competition" since MS purportedly has access to information about its own OS that other security firms do not. But that's fine since in the hands of an expert, MSE does quite well in conjunction with other tools:

    Malware Hunting with the Sysinternals Tools: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wuy_Pm3KaV8
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