Microsoft Security Essentials fails AV-Test certification... again

By on January 17, 2013, 4:00 PM

Microsoft Security Essentials has once again failed to make the grade for certification at AV-Test, an independent but non-required honor that most anti-virus programs enjoy. By extension, Windows 8's built-in virus protection, Windows Defender, likely suffers the same shortcomings as it is essentially a rebadged version of MSSE. The anti-virus utility marked its first failure for Sept/Oct.

Since its debut in 2009, Microsoft's no-cost anti-virus has remained free of advertisements, nagging reminders or required registration. This made MSSE an exciting alternative to long-time freebies Avira, Avast and AVG. MSSE quickly took off and gained a reputation as a top contender, once receiving excellent marks for its lightweight foot print, simple interface and detection/removal capabilities. In recent times though, MSSE has slipped -- a lot.

AV-Test basically flunked MSSE for having the worst zero-day detection rates of any virus scanner. According to the organization, MSSE caught only 78 percent of freshly devised badware thrown at it in December -- the industry average was 92 percent. In November, it did worse with only 71 percent. Microsoft's anti-virus also performed below-average for most other types of detection removal scenarios.

Bitdefender: Internet Security 2013, Trend Micro: Titanium Maximum Security 2013 and F-Secure: Internet Security 2013 rounded out the top three winners when it came to overall detection rates. When it comes to free anti-virus software, AVG edged out Avast for the tenth spot in overall protection. 

It wasn't all bad for MSSE though. Security Essentials did fare well in removing infections from critical system areas (12 percent higher than the industry average) and received a perfect score for avoiding false detections. The software also placed third for overall usability and performance.

AV-Test is an independent German organization who, amongst other things, rates anti-virus utilities based on various metrics every couple of months. AV-Test's certification is by no means an industry requirement, but their test results have served as a standardized way to benchmark anti-virus programs for a number of years.

Also on the list of non-certified AVs are PC Tools: Internet Security 2012 and Korean-made AhnLab: V3 Internet Security 8.0, which features its own custom AV engine.




User Comments: 36

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Blkfx1 Blkfx1 said:

Come on Microsoft get your Sh*t together. I can see them missing out the first time due to focusing on W8. But, a second time? Hopefully next time they will score better. MSE is a great program and I would hate to see it go under.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

This is why I tell people never ever run Microsoft Security Essentials on their p0rn computer!

For banking it works just fine!

1 person liked this | Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

I'm probably going to keep using it as long as its footprint remains small. I consider myself an experienced internet user... somewhat of a savvy professional maybe, lol

Guest said:

I use to use Microsoft Security Essentials until my computer got an awful virus. My computer instantly turned off, when I turned it back on a fake security essentials popped up wanting my credit card number to remove the virus and to protect my computer. It used the same icons and design as the Microsoft security essentials, but this virus one wouldn't let me do anything on my computer.

Fortunately I was able to remove it after a few hours.

Since then I have been using avast! and I have had absolutely no problems sense.

Guest said:

Common Sense people C'mon!! Why would MS invest in something that is going to cost them $$. Better AV-Software = longer runtimes for their OS = Less money for M$.

Its why they used to include McAfee (the most gawd-awful AV ever)

Its why they included Norton/Symantec

And its why they created MSSE.

1 person liked this | Camikazi said:

Common Sense people C'mon!! Why would MS invest in something that is going to cost them $$. Better AV-Software = longer runtimes for their OS = Less money for M$.

Its why they used to include McAfee (the most gawd-awful AV ever)

Its why they included Norton/Symantec

And its why they created MSSE.

When did MS ever include those 2 AV? I am pretty sure it was the computer builders who decided what other programs came with the computer and not MS.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Really, are the AV histrionics going down this road again? For me, all M$E has to do, (basically), is to survive Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Techspot. Anything else is gravy!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

When did MS ever include those 2 AV? I am pretty sure it was the computer builders who decided what other programs came with the computer and not MS.
Yeah, beings as the computer manufacturers were trying to offset the price of PCs, by allowing software publishers subsidize their platforms.

I fondly remember the badly crippled OEM copy of "Nero", that came with my first real PC!.

(No I don't, I'm lying out my a**)!

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

OMG MS has to get this fixed ASAP. It's so much easier to deploy MSE (the enterprise equivalent anyway) than any of the others, but if it's screwing up so bad now no one will want to risk it unless they just can't afford a license with one of the other companies.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

OMG MS has to get this fixed ASAP. It's so much easier to deploy MSE (the enterprise equivalent anyway) than any of the others, but if it's screwing up so bad now no one will want to risk it unless they just can't afford a license with one of the other companies.
Since this is the second fail in as many tries, I'd say that ship has sailed....:eek:

Timonius Timonius said:

Has there been any official Microsoft Response on this yet? I'd like to still give them the benefit of the doubt, but now I am seriously considering updating my research and recommendations on the semi-professional level. I'm fine with it personally but can no longer in good conscience recommend it to others. People I know are looking for excellent nag-free solutions that are free.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

I don't care. I still use it, and it's still good. Before MSE, I used BitDefender, but it's too omnipotent and synthetic.

Guest said:

NIS is light and good, the best per all.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I use to use Microsoft Security Essentials until my computer got an awful virus. My computer instantly turned off, when I turned it back on a fake security essentials popped up wanting my credit card number to remove the virus and to protect my computer. It used the same icons and design as the Microsoft security essentials, but this virus one wouldn't let me do anything on my computer.

Fortunately I was able to remove it after a few hours.

Same thing happened to me and you know what, two more years of using MSE I can say that was the last time I was infected by the fake MSE. I don't know how I was infected and don't care to know, because I know within reason it was my fault not the fault of the anti-virus app.

Guest said:

Bad news for MSE users, again..

Guest said:

I use Firefox with Adblock Plus, and I have Flash, Java, and java script  disabled. I don't install any new programs, apart from new games downloaded through Steam. I don't surf any sketchy sites either. I have no need for an Anti Virus. I do however install a different one randomly every few months and run a scan for the heck of it. I haven't had an issue with malware in more than a decade.

ShadowDeath said:

Sad day when BitDefender has dominated the market. -_-!

I was a true believer in Security Essentials until the last time they failed the test.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

"Fortunately I was able to remove it after a few hours.

Since then I have been using avast! and I have had absolutely no problems sense."

Don't confuse causation with correlation. If I get a headache and rub a cat on my head and it goes away, it doesn't mean the cat cured my headache. Not that I'm defending MSE second failure. But if you had said Avast had prevented 32 infection vectors and cured three, then we'd be talking.

1 person liked this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

MSE works just fine for me at least. All it takes is sensible browsing & opening selective mails.

1 person liked this | havok585 havok585 said:

I'm gonna tell u right now, that I have MSE installed since '09 and never ever (w764b) had to reinstall my OS because of trojans, worms, spyware, IF u know what you're doing, not like any average user (who doesnt know shit about AV's, how to configure them and what not) + u get the same speed out of your PC just because the AV doesnt hog your resources like many paid AV's out there, sure they may have a better protection on zero day malware but it's not like for the average user to go right into the motherload of real bad infected sites full of malware.

avoidz avoidz said:

I use Firefox with Adblock Plus, and I have Flash, Java, and java script  disabled. I don't install any new programs, apart from new games downloaded through Steam. I don't surf any sketchy sites either. I have no need for an Anti Virus. I do however install a different one randomly every few months and run a scan for the heck of it. I haven't had an issue with malware in more than a decade.

So after all that, you are still paranoid enough to run one every few months. I thought bragging about having no need for antivirus went out of fashion in the late-1990s.

Guest said:

"I use Firefox with Adblock Plus, and I have Flash, Java, and java script disabled. I don't install any new programs, apart from new games downloaded through Steam. I don't surf any sketchy sites either. I have no need for an Anti Virus. I do however install a different one randomly every few months and run a scan for the heck of it. I haven't had an issue with malware in more than a decade"

--> LoL!!

Guest said:

Microsoft Repsonce:

[link]

I'm still using MSE as one of my layers of security.

Guest said:

Knowing how you got infected is more important then a highly ranked AV.

Guest said:

Looks like im going back to Avast + Malwarebytes. At least I can close those without uninstalling for gaming anyways.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

OMG MS has to get this fixed ASAP. It's so much easier to deploy MSE (the enterprise equivalent anyway) than any of the others, but if it's screwing up so bad now no one will want to risk it unless they just can't afford a license with one of the other companies.
It depends on who you want to believe. "Guest" posted M$'s response to the testing" They of course claim that AV-Tests are, to one extent or another, flawed or moot. Here's that link again: [link]

So granted, their response is understandable. OTOH, in a commercial environment, you can use script blocking, with white listing. Since the in house staff on line are , (or should be), all LAC's, there shouldn't be an issue, as long as the extra level of security is maintained. Then there's site blocking and filtering. I know you know these things, but think of all the fun we'll have as soon as anybody, (in this case me), mentions the big "C-word" (*)!

(*) censorship.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I figured I would mention, I purposely clicked a link tonight that I knew would more than likely infect my PC. After a minute or two MSE was giving a small popup in the bottom right of Desktop. At first it appeared that MSE had removed the threat, but that wasn't the case. MSE continued to give the small popup. After manually running MSE and Malwarebytes scans, the threat remained. Instead of wasting further time on this infection I purposely give myself, I booted into safe Mode and fell back on a System Restore Point. MSE may not have removed the threat, but the threat was identified which allowed me to remove it fairly quickly. And for me and my needs, that is all I ask for.

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

I'm all up for having some sort of Av solution, but I prefer the one that doesn't slow down noticeably my hard drive. It therefore needs to be a light AV solution. I used to like MSE but lately it kinda makes my hard drive work too hard, and now this not really being protected thing.

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

Does anybody know F-Prot?

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

After last years fail, I went to Avast Free. It's decent.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

"I have no need for an Anti Virus. I do however install a different one randomly every few months and run a scan for the heck of it. I haven't had an issue with malware in more than a decade"

--> LoL!!

You could do online scans instead of installing full programs.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Common Sense people C'mon!! Why would MS invest in something that is going to cost them $$. Better AV-Software = longer runtimes for their OS = Less money for M$.

Its why they used to include McAfee (the most gawd-awful AV ever)

Its why they included Norton/Symantec

And its why they created MSSE.

Microsoft bought McAfee.

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Microsoft bought McAfee.
Is McAfee still in jail?

learninmypc learninmypc said:

Microsoft bought McAfee.

When? I don't see it mentioned

mrjgriffin mrjgriffin said:

Only thing microsoft has ever released that was a good security program was "microsoft antispyware" before they ended up naming it windows defender. that program found a lot of bad things on my computer, things that spybot ad aware webroot and pc tools missed. after they changed to windows defender it never detected anything once. I've used msse a handful of times and it has never found anything either and from these last 2 articles I've been reading about them failing it doesn't suprise me. lastly im suprised avg beat avast this time around.

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