Antivirus effectiveness report: Microsoft Security Essentials behind its peers

Subject: General Tech | May 4, 2011 - 05:28 PM |
Tagged: mse, Malware, antivirus

One of the major drawbacks of having general purpose computation devices is malware. Your computers are designed to manipulate and store instructions and information and they do that amazingly. Your computers, however, cannot tell who gave what instruction; they follow a set of instructions until it links to another, which they follow, ad infinitum. When someone who wants to use your computer can get their series of instructions run by your computer: that is when you got a problem.

Antivirus software is designed to detect when a bundle of bits on your computer could translate to a likely attack. The big question is how effective are each antivirus package at doing just that.
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Oh is it reeaaaalllllyyy?
The firm tests antivirus software and assigns it with a score based on various factors. They recently published their findings for this quarter and found Microsoft Security Essentials was the second-least effective at preventing infections from occurring according to their scoring metric. Their report (PDF) shows that while Microsoft is effective at blocking recent malware it has difficulty with 0-day attacks.
Despite the ranking it should be noted that antivirus software should be just a guard looking over your shoulder monitoring what you do. Keep your computer and all programs on it that receive data up to date, be careful of what you run, and keep a minimum number of ports forwarded to your PC. Then and only then will an Antivirus package help protect you against what is left.
Lastly, if you happen to suspect that your computer has an infection: back up your data, reinstall your operating system, and enjoy a speedy virus-free computer. That method is free and more effective than hoping an Antivirus package reversed all the damage the virus did because you have no method of knowing otherwise.

May 4, 2011 | 09:09 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

I agree with this advice, though I am dissapointed in MSEs results..

EDIT: Also, I remember hearing good things about Panda's Cloud AV and it's detection rates. An internet connection is needed to get the full power of it's large cloud definition database, and the scanning engine is slow as frozen molasses, but the scanning engine's detection rate is supposed to be really good. Just an alternative that I'm keeping an eye on while I hope MSE gets even better.

May 5, 2011 | 03:11 PM - Posted by Dreamkiller76

I've using MSE on all my computers. Its caught every infection that has tried to infect the machine. I still stand behind the software and recommended it to friends and family. Im alway subject to disagree with testing AV software only because you cant tell me that it is real world (I've seen paid software get infected too).

Also I use hotmail and gmail services for email. I guess thats an added support from keeping viruses out.

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