Security firm Bitdefender recently conducted a study with Windows 8 and its built-in Windows Defender sotfware and discovered that they're able to defeat 85-percent of the 100 malware families used by most hackers in 2012. That's better than Windows 7's out-of-the-box security which reportedly only blocks 32-percent of the malware.
Bitdefender came to this conclusion after setting up a Windows 8 machine, with Windows Defender running, in a controlled test environment. The company infected the machine with "61 malware threats of 385 of the most popular malware samples."
According to the firm, one of the samples managed to sneak past Windows Defender, but crashed on execution. Another sample broke through Windows Defender and actually executed, but it was immediately blocked by User Account Control so no actual payload was unloaded.
"The malicious sample set consisted of the families of malware detected most frequently in the past six months by the Bitdefender Real-Time Virus Reporting System," the company said on Friday. "The malware that successfully bypassed Windows Defender was capable of granting backdoor access to the system, intercepting keystrokes, stealing online games credentials, and more."
When the company tested the Windows 8 machine without Windows Defender running, the results were naturally a lot worse. Of the 385 samples, 234 ran successfully, the company said, but an additional 138 samples just could not be executed on the machine for numerous unnamed reasons. Six e-threats executed but then crashed, and seven others launched but their payload was blocked by User Account Control.
"As a means of protecting a computer from viruses, data theft and other type of malware, Windows Defender is better than nothing," said Bitdefender Chief Security Strategist Catalin Cosoi. "But it’s not a whole lot better. Most of the popular antivirus [solutions] can do better. The conclusion is clear: using your PC without a security solution is extremely risky."
Naturally this bit of information comes from a security firm that provides a 3rd-party solution, so take the data with a grain of salt.
If you don't download illegal music plus movies and you stay away from the naked ladies sites.
In my opinion, care and common sense can very well make up for the lack of an antivirus.
Personally I goto quite a few shady sites, on Win7 Security Essentials never failed me, and so far on 8, it hasn't failed me.
Besides, the one thing nobody ever talks about, is the simple fact that no anti-virus etc will EVER be 100%. Until NEW virus are found and put into a catalog, the anti-virus program doesn't know about it.
Also, another reason I use Microsoft's AV etc, is because they KNOW windows. Google "mistake user32.dll flagged as virus bluescreen".