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Microsoft Security Essentials Fails 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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  • kawininjazx
    In my personal experience, Security Essentials find more threats than anything else I have used.
    Reply
  • extremepcs
    But MSE doesn't turn your i7 system into a 486. THAT is why I use it.
    Reply
  • scythe944
    kawininjazxIn my personal experience, Security Essentials find more threats than anything else I have used.
    Probably false positives...
    Reply
  • scythe944
    extremepcsBut MSE doesn't turn your i7 system into a 486. THAT is why I use it.neither does avast, and it actually finds threats, that's why I use it.
    Reply
  • sykozis
    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.
    Reply
  • jaquith
    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.
    Reply
  • 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 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'
    Reply
  • sykozis
    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....
    Reply
  • sykozis
    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...
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    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.
    Reply