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Microsoft Security Essentials Fails AV-Test Certification

By - Source: AV-TEST | B 31 comments

Microsoft Security Essentials received a protection score of 1.5 out of 6.0, thus keeping it from reaching AV-TEST certification.

German anti-virus lab AV-TEST has published the results of recent 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 surprisingly, one anti-virus product actually failed: Microsoft's own Security Essentials.

"During September and October 2012 we continuously evaluated 24 home user security products using their default settings, the firm states. "We always used the most current publicly-available version of all products for the testing. They were allowed to update themselves at any time and query their in-the-cloud services. We focused on realistic test scenarios and challenged the products against real-world threats. Products had to demonstrate their capabilities using all components and protection layers."

According to this chart, Microsoft Security Essentials (both 4.0 and 4.1) scored a 69 in September and a 64 in October regarding protection against 0-day malware attacks (inclusive of web and e-mail threats) – the industry average is a score of 89. In detecting widespread and prevalent malware, the suite scored a 100, and in detecting a representative set of malware discovered in the last 2-3 months, it scored a 90. Combine those three scores, and Microsoft Security Essentials received a Protection Score of 1.5 out of 6.0.

Moving on, the suite's Repair Score was somewhat better, ranking 3.5 out of 6.0. In the removal of further malicious components and remediation of critical system modifications, it scored a 63 although the industry average was 60. It excelled above most in detecting actively running widespread malware (including Rootkits and stealth malware), scoring a 98. But it was below average in removing all active components of widespread malware (including Rootkits and stealth malware), receiving a score of 80.

Finally in the Usability department, Microsoft Security Essentials scored a 5.5 out of 6.0. The suite didn't provide any false blockings in September and October, nor did it provide false warnings. It only had one false detection of a legitimate program as malware in those two months, and only 5 computer slowdowns were reported.

Microsoft Security Essentials' total score: 10.5.

Out of the entire batch of products tested by AV-TEST, Bitdefender's Internet Security 2013 seemed to provide the best security, earning a 6.0 (out of 6.0) in protection, 6.0 in repair, and 5.0 in usability. Kaspersky's Internet Security 2013 also did really well, scoring a 5.5 in protection, 4.5 in repair, and 5.0 in usability. F-Secure's Internet Security 2012 and 2013 both scored a 6.0 in protection, a 5.0 in repair, and a 4.5 in usability.

So how does a security product pass or fail certification? Each one can receive a maximum of 18 points (6.0, 6.0, 6.0), but in order to receive certification, they must have a score of at least 11. Bitdefender's Internet Security 2013 scored a total of 17 whereas Kaspersky's Internet Security 2013 scored a 15. As previously stated, Microsoft Security Essentials only managed a 10.5 total.

To read the full results, head here.

 

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Top Comments
  • 28 Hide
    ThisIsMe , November 30, 2012 12:22 PM
    "According to this chart, Microsoft Security Essentials (both 4.0 and 4.1) scored a 69 in September and a 64 in October regarding protection against 0-day malware attacks (inclusive of web and e-mail threats) – the industry average is a score of 89. In detecting widespread and prevalent malware, the suite scored a 100, and in detecting a representative set of malware discovered in the last 2-3 months, it scored a 90. Combine those three scores, and Microsoft Security Essentials received a Protection Score of 1.5 out of 6.0."

    so it scored a

    64 out of 100
    100 out of 100
    90 out of 100

    and that equals a 1.5 out of 6.0 ??

    must be some crazy german math going on somewhere in there ...just sayin'
  • 24 Hide
    extremepcs , November 30, 2012 12:17 PM
    But MSE doesn't turn your i7 system into a 486. THAT is why I use it.
  • 22 Hide
    kawininjazx , November 30, 2012 12:09 PM
    In my personal experience, Security Essentials find more threats than anything else I have used.
Other Comments
    Display all 31 comments.
  • 22 Hide
    kawininjazx , November 30, 2012 12:09 PM
    In my personal experience, Security Essentials find more threats than anything else I have used.
  • 24 Hide
    extremepcs , November 30, 2012 12:17 PM
    But MSE doesn't turn your i7 system into a 486. THAT is why I use it.
  • 20 Hide
    sykozis , November 30, 2012 12:20 PM
    Take these results with a grain of salt. No "security suite" is perfect for every situation. If you maintain proper browsing and e-mail habits, MSE and Defender (Win8) are perfectly capable and even better when Malwarebyte's AntiMalware is used along side. That's not to say there aren't better solutions available, but if your browsing habits aren't negligent (browsing questionable sites, downloading every attachment from e-mail, etc), there's little reason to pay for the "major brand" software.
  • 13 Hide
    jaquith , November 30, 2012 12:22 PM
    What I've learned is simple, your AV is as good as it's last set of definitions. So to truly gauge an AV 'properly' you'd need to examine months of data.
  • 28 Hide
    ThisIsMe , November 30, 2012 12:22 PM
    "According to this chart, Microsoft Security Essentials (both 4.0 and 4.1) scored a 69 in September and a 64 in October regarding protection against 0-day malware attacks (inclusive of web and e-mail threats) – the industry average is a score of 89. In detecting widespread and prevalent malware, the suite scored a 100, and in detecting a representative set of malware discovered in the last 2-3 months, it scored a 90. Combine those three scores, and Microsoft Security Essentials received a Protection Score of 1.5 out of 6.0."

    so it scored a

    64 out of 100
    100 out of 100
    90 out of 100

    and that equals a 1.5 out of 6.0 ??

    must be some crazy german math going on somewhere in there ...just sayin'
  • 11 Hide
    sykozis , November 30, 2012 12:22 PM
    scythe944neither does avast, and it actually finds threats, that's why I use it.

    Last time I ran Avast, it was harder on system performance that Vista at launch....
  • 19 Hide
    sykozis , November 30, 2012 12:23 PM
    jaquithWhat I've learned is simple, your AV is as good as it's last set of definitions. So to truly gauge an AV 'properly' you'd need to examine months of data.

    In a lot of cases, the AV is only as good as the user is intelligent...
  • 7 Hide
    cats_Paw , November 30, 2012 12:24 PM
    Essentials is exactly what its name says: Its essential to have it, not the ultimate weapon.
    Every decent user knows that esentials is an aditional help, but th main must be something else.
  • 5 Hide
    mouse24 , November 30, 2012 12:39 PM
    I dunno. I like Avira personally, if the person wants to use something else go ahead and let them. No reason to try and sway them as they won't listen. I also run Comodo and Malware Bytes with modified rules (Nothing to crazy just made it a bit stricter in asking for permission about what an application can and can't do)

    The only thing that holds me back from just installing avira on family members systems over an unobtrusive AV like MSE is that it has a friggin popup type ad every time it updates.
  • 20 Hide
    Pinhedd , November 30, 2012 12:44 PM
    The best anti-virus is a smart user
  • 5 Hide
    beayn , November 30, 2012 12:51 PM
    Cats_PawEssentials is exactly what its name says: Its essential to have it, not the ultimate weapon.Every decent user knows that esentials is an aditional help, but th main must be something else.
    Are you saying to run two antivirus programs?

    I usually recommend MSE with Malwarebytes, but not two full blow AV suites like say MSE and McAfee.
  • 2 Hide
    wysir , November 30, 2012 12:53 PM
    ThisIsMe"According to this chart, Microsoft Security Essentials (both 4.0 and 4.1) scored a 69 in September and a 64 in October regarding protection against 0-day malware attacks (inclusive of web and e-mail threats) – the industry average is a score of 89. In detecting widespread and prevalent malware, the suite scored a 100, and in detecting a representative set of malware discovered in the last 2-3 months, it scored a 90. Combine those three scores, and Microsoft Security Essentials received a Protection Score of 1.5 out of 6.0."so it scored a64 out of 100, 100 out of 100, 90 out of 100and that equals a 1.5 out of 6.0 ??must be some crazy german math going on somewhere in there ...just sayin'


    Always take these with a grain of salt. The points could be coming from where they rate compared to the competition than the actual test results. 64 is way under the average of 89, 90 is below the average of 97, and 100 is average for the last test. So if you were directly comparing the test results to the rest of the field, it's easy to see where they came up with 1.5 out of 6.0.

    sykozisLast time I ran Avast, it was harder on system performance that Vista at launch....


    I run this on all the machines for my company. The only machine that had a noticable difference only had 2 GB of ram with Win 7 Pro x64, which that is the minimum amount of RAM needed to run the O.S. Needless to say, after I added more RAM, no more slowdowns.
  • 10 Hide
    jaquith , November 30, 2012 12:56 PM
    Quote:
    In a lot of cases, the AV is only as good as the user is intelligent...

    The last 'virus' I've picked-up was from all places WhitePages.com through a JAVA exploit banner ad.

    So as you stated 'a lot' vs 'all' cases. I'm not a BitTorrent or other 'sites' kinda gut, but crap happens.
  • 6 Hide
    beayn , November 30, 2012 1:02 PM
    I generally rate antivirus not by their detection rates, but by how many systems come to our company's bench with problems caused by the AV screwing shit up. Lately, McAfee has been the #1 culprit for breaking systems quickly followed by Kaspersky. Right after that in 3rd is AVG. We sell mostly NOD32, and rarely see it come back causing problems..... although that might change, we have had a few problems come back in the last 2 weeks.

    When people don't want NOD32, we usually sell them Malwarebytes Pro and install MSE along side it. That seems to be a great combo as we rarely see those come back infected.

    I also must mention that the worst piece of malware I've ever had to remove on a client's machine was AVG Secure Search. It embedded itself into Firefox's new tab window by actually modifying a DLL. It was not possible to remove it even after being uinstalled properly, and then using AVG removal tools. No setting could get the normal tab window back. Firefox had to be uninstalled, and the install folder deleted followed by a reinstall. You know you've got a BAD antivirus on your hands when it's worse than the malware it's supposed to protect you from.



  • 5 Hide
    Botia , November 30, 2012 1:03 PM
    I like it because it is better than others at detecting threats. It doesn't do anything for web or mail, which I prefer. I use other methods for those. It runs as a service in the background and in general stays out of the way and uses very little resources. Keep up the good work Microsoft.
  • 0 Hide
    codo , November 30, 2012 1:06 PM
    The more I read on this site the more I feel like ditching it. MSE has been good to me, but as usual the best anti virus is a well educated self.
  • -1 Hide
    tomfreak , November 30, 2012 1:23 PM
    last I checked bitdefender Internet security isnt free, compared the free MSE vs the paid ones? really?
  • 5 Hide
    rantoc , November 30, 2012 1:32 PM
    Security Essentials is more than adequate for most power users and as the name implies its the basic protection. Haven't had a single virus/malware (not counting the laughable "cookie malware hits" that most scanners report just so that they can report something other than the system is clean each time) for the past 15 years :) 

    Use of the brain the easily the best malware deterrence... Don't click those you have won 1 zillion dollars, free porn or penis enlargement links. Dont follow the links to blizzard.com.cn in the weekly emails claiming the wow account have been compromised for the zillionth time. Its not much harder than that really!
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