Microsoft Security Essentials bombs on first 2011 AVTest

first_imgEver since its arrival, I’ve been happily using Microsoft Security Essentials — and while one poor showing in a comparative test isn’t going to drive me away, I’ll admit I’m a little concerned. AV-Test GmbH has posted results from its first quarter 2011 testing of 22 antivirus applications on Windows 7, and MSE barely managed to squeak out a certification-worthy score. AV-Test requires a minimum of 11 points to certify, and MSE posted 11.5.So where did the wheels come off the train? Security Essentials struggled with zero-day threats, malicious software which has yet to be analyzed and rolled into an antivirus program’s definition files. The average across all 22 entrants was an 84% detection rate, but MSE only detected half of the samples thrown at it. Even more worrying is that MSE only managed to block 45% of malware during or after execution. AV-Test’s Andreas Marx said that MSE’s lack of effective Web and email scanners were major negatives, and expects that the program’s poor results in the lab are translating into equally poor results in the real world, too.Compare those marks to Kaspersky’s — 98% detection and 100% blocking. They might not be able to protect their own websites from being defaced, but it’s pretty clear that Kasperksy is very capable of defending your computers against malware. Even PC Tools — acquired by Symantec and now a sort of “value-priced” Norton Antivirus — posted significantly better scores than MSE. In fact, PC Tools was perfect in both areas, scoring 100% on both detection and blocking (though it still failed to amass enough points for certification).Heuristic detection and protection against zero-day threats is a critical piece of the Windows security puzzle in 2011. Crimeware kits make it far too easy for malware authors to remix their nefarious programs, which allows them to stay a step ahead of definition-based defenses. Yes, there were tests on which MSE scored extremely well this time around — like a 5.5/6 for usability with no false positives registered — but I hope Microsoft looks at the AV-Test results and re-doubles its efforts to get MSE back among the best performers.Read more at AV-Testlast_img read more