Feeds

Microsoft Security Essentials loses AV-TEST certification

German lab downgrades Redmond after zero-day detection rates slide

Security for virtualized datacentres

Microsoft Security Essentials, Redmond’s free antivirus tool for home users and business with up to ten PCs, can detect just 64 per cent of zero-day threats when running under Windows 7.

That low detection rate has cost it the AV-TEST Institute’s seal of approval, a certification it hands out to products that meet 11 of 18 criteria it assess. Those criteria consider how effective software is at detecting and blocking threats, repair of infected systems and overall usability including “average slowing down of the computer when the software is used on a daily basis, false positives during a system scan and the display of false warnings or the blocking of certain actions during the installation and during the use of known good software.”

The Institute conducts tests bi-monthly and lists longitudinal data on software products’ performance.

During October the Institute rated Security Essentials 4.0 and 4.1 at just 1.5 out of 6 in terms of its ability to protect a PC, thanks largely to the 64 per cent zero-day detection rate being well below the industry average 89 per cent.

Security Essentials has lost AV-TEST’s seal before, with its September 2010 test failing to meet the lab’s criteria. It is the only one of 24 AV products for Windows 7 without the certification. Four products missed out for Windows Vista and two for Windows XP. Windows 8 AV tools are yet to go under the microscope and Microsoft is absent from AV-TEST's list of vendors thanks to the new OS' integrated protection software.

While tests like these have no official standing, a look at AV-TEST’s longitudinal analysis of Security Essentials show it has consistently struggled to perform well in its malware detection and blocking tests.

Another security software testing organisation, Virus Bulletin, says Security Essentials’ performance is sufficient to justify its VB100 rating, which can only be attained by software that “prove[s] it can detect 100% of malware samples listed as 'In the Wild' by the WildList Organization” without generating any false positives. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.