Microsoft Security Essentials gets certified

AV-Test.org, a group with more than 15 years of experience in the area of anti-virus research and data security, has given Microsoft Security Essentials their certificate of approval. They tested 19 anti-virus and security applications in the second quarter this year, all but four certified: Trend Micro Internet Security Pro 2010, BullGuard Internet Security 9.0, Norman Security Suite 8.0 and McAfee Internet Security 2010.

The AV-Test team said, "During April, May and June 2010 we continuously evaluated 19 security products using their default settings. We always used the most current publicly available version of all products for the testing. They were allowed to update themselves at any time and query their in-the-cloud services. We focused on realistic test scenarios and challenged the products against real-world threats. Products had to demonstrate their capabilities using all components and protection layers."

The products were tested according to following categories:

  • Protection - static and dynamic malware detection, including testing for real-world 0-Day attacks.
  • Repair - system disinfection and rootkit removal
  • Usability - amount of system slow-down caused by the tools and the number of false positives.

The anti-virus applications were scored from 0.0 (worst) to 6.0 (best), Windows Security Essentials scored a 4.0 in Protection, a 4.5 in Repair and a 5.5 in Usability.

The Windows Security Blog was happy about the certification and said, "the most important validation of AV quality comes from independent certification organizations like VB100, AV-Test and others. With the current version of Microsoft Security Essentials and the new version now available in beta, our commitment remains constant: to provide security you can trust that is easy to use and provides protection that runs quietly and efficiently in the background, ensuring a great Windows user experience."

The three applications that tested highest were Kaspersky Internet Security 2010, Symantec Norton Internet Security 2010 and Panda Internet Security 2010. None of the applications tested scored higher than a 5.5.

Thanks to forum user Shayla for the news tip.

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98 Comments

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Mike Frett said,
Interesting McAfee did not get certified, makes you think wtf was Intel thinking.

Intel didn't buy Mcstuffies for its software AV product but rather some IP they own for hardware AV products which Intel is looking at adding to either it's CPU's or network gear in the future...

Mike Frett said,
Interesting McAfee did not get certified, makes you think wtf was Intel thinking.

Just a normal day for an Intel CEO

Intel CEO: "We need antivirus, can someone buy me McAfee?"

Few hours later:
"Done."
Intel CEO: "Great, which version?"
"Version ... ?"

I have been using MSE for quite some time and currently beta testing the next version. I like the fact that it just sits in the background without seeking attention all the time, takes nearly no resources and just does what it is meant to be doing. I have to admit that the beta version is more aware of dodge websites compared to the first one. Windows 7 Firewall + MSE + UAC and I feel I am secure enough and bloatware free.

For those not running W7, don't mind this post. The tests are referring explicitly to W7: Certifications for the 2nd Quarter 2010 (Windows 7). A good editor would've mention something like that in the title!

COKid said,
More specifics please, zivan56.

+1 must have been infected before MSE was installed and as an general rule rootkits are very hard to find once installed they play hide and seek with the OS any OS

Had MSE installed on all computers at home being updated daily. All the computers were infected with a variant of a rather common rootkit and MSE reported nothing. Only after I scanned the computer with another antivirus did a window pop up warning of it by MSE. By this time, the rootkit installed a bunch of other viruses, which it was unable to detect.

I don't plan to trust MSE ever again, as it was unable to detect hardly anything.

Well after i keep hearing people praise MSE on this website i finally took the plunge and installed MSE and my initial impressions are definitely positive so far. (i am using it on Win7 Home Pre x64. i got 64bit version of MSE)

p.s. i previously had Avira AV and it was good overall but false detections seemed to be a issue from time to time where as a file Avira claims is a virus MSE does not complain about.

Trend Micro Internet Security Pro 2010, BullGuard Internet Security 9.0, Norman Security Suite 8.0 and McAfee Internet Security 2010

Didn't Intel just buy McAfee?

soldier1st said,
mse is always a cpu/memory hog so that should be tested as well so then ms would get thier act together and fix it.

Post computer specs, since statements like this sound like someone with 512mb ram and 1.5ghz cpu complaining. lol

IntelliMoo said,

Post computer specs, since statements like this sound like someone with 512mb ram and 1.5ghz cpu complaining. lol

If other companies can make programs to run on legacy hardware, why can't MS?

Should he upgrade his machine just to run AV? Just because someone mentions that's it's a hog, one of the fanboys ALWAYS has to say "No it's not!".

Just because it's not slow for you, doesn't mean it runs great for everyone else. Just so you know, every machine is different.

farmeunit said,

If other companies can make programs to run on legacy hardware, why can't MS?

Should he upgrade his machine just to run AV? Just because someone mentions that's it's a hog, one of the fanboys ALWAYS has to say "No it's not!".

Just because it's not slow for you, doesn't mean it runs great for everyone else. Just so you know, every machine is different.

Because MS is an forward thinking company there comes a time when legacy hardware should be just that legacy even the manufactures stop supporting legacy hardware why shouldn't MS.. I've a friend with an Athlon XP 3200+ with 1GB DR400 ram and winXP MSE runs perfectly fine on it

I like the fact you gave credit to who originally posted the article. Well done man, not many writers do.

So...which is ultimately better, MSE or Avast 5 Free? I've used Avast for years, and also beta-tested MSE, and never could decide which seemed to do it's job better.

2Cold Scorpio said,
So...which is ultimately better, MSE or Avast 5 Free? I've used Avast for years, and also beta-tested MSE, and never could decide which seemed to do it's job better.

i love avast! The only other AV I've used in McAfee.

2Cold Scorpio said,
So...which is ultimately better, MSE or Avast 5 Free? I've used Avast for years, and also beta-tested MSE, and never could decide which seemed to do it's job better.

MSE fewer false positives

Since everybody's PC configs are different, everybody's mileage *will* vary.

That being said, Intel overpaid for McAfee and most AV solutions are bloatware first-and-foremost. MSE is the lightest AV program right now. Any resource hog complainers should try running Firefox -- then watch the resource disappear before your ever own eyes. (Especially true with Firefox 4 Beta 3.)

Nas said,
Since everybody's PC configs are different, everybody's mileage *will* vary.

That being said, Intel overpaid for McAfee and most AV solutions are bloatware first-and-foremost. MSE is the lightest AV program right now. Any resource hog complainers should try running Firefox -- then watch the resource disappear before your ever own eyes. (Especially true with Firefox 4 Beta 3.)

Why are we suddenly bringing a browser debate into the mix?

I refuse to use MSE. My school for my Network Admin Diploma deployed it across all client-side computers, and god was it a resource hog. The heuristics just suck up so many CPU cycles its ridiculous. And having used it for a while, and having had a sneaking suspiscion I had some virus', I ran a scan with MSE, it was clean. Ran one with Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware of all things, and boom, 2 Trojan's. So its back to ESET Smart Security 4. Maybe overzealous sometimes, but I have NEVER had an issue I could find a solution for on ESET's website. If I had to go free, I'd go with Avast! or Avira. Microsoft Security Essential's just doesn't cut it for me.

Aanuun said,
I refuse to use MSE. My school for my Network Admin Diploma deployed it across all client-side computers, and god was it a resource hog.

Resource Hog or not, it's not meant to be used in a corporate environment. You can't centrally manage it, so it won't notify an admin when it finds infections or is out of date. That was a poor decision by those admin(s)

Aanuun said,
I refuse to use MSE. My school for my Network Admin Diploma deployed it across all client-side computers, and god was it a resource hog. The heuristics just suck up so many CPU cycles its ridiculous. And having used it for a while, and having had a sneaking suspiscion I had some virus', I ran a scan with MSE, it was clean. Ran one with Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware of all things, and boom, 2 Trojan's. So its back to ESET Smart Security 4. Maybe overzealous sometimes, but I have NEVER had an issue I could find a solution for on ESET's website. If I had to go free, I'd go with Avast! or Avira. Microsoft Security Essential's just doesn't cut it for me.

2 things.

1. MSE is not a resource hog by any measure, and most people will agree with that.
2. MSE wasn't designed for use in a corporate environment. Use Microsoft Forefront Security for that.

Aanuun said,
I refuse to use MSE. My school for my Network Admin Diploma deployed it across all client-side computers, and god was it a resource hog. The heuristics just suck up so many CPU cycles its ridiculous. And having used it for a while, and having had a sneaking suspiscion I had some virus', I ran a scan with MSE, it was clean. Ran one with Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware of all things, and boom, 2 Trojan's. So its back to ESET Smart Security 4. Maybe overzealous sometimes, but I have NEVER had an issue I could find a solution for on ESET's website. If I had to go free, I'd go with Avast! or Avira. Microsoft Security Essential's just doesn't cut it for me.

cheap arse admins trying get away without paying for an corporate capable AV solution like Forefront

I've been using Norton Internet Security 2010 and now I'm Beta testing the 2011 Version and its the lightest AV suite around!

Symantec, unlike McAfee, have listened to their customers are dramatically improved their software over the past few years, whereas McAfee just release the same software every year with a new version number, but with minimal changes.

bbfc_uk said,
I've been using Norton Internet Security 2010 and now I'm Beta testing the 2011 Version and its the lightest AV suite around!

Symantec, unlike McAfee, have listened to their customers are dramatically improved their software over the past few years, whereas McAfee just release the same software every year with a new version number, but with minimal changes.

+1. NIS has been great since version 2009. McAfee has done nothing but go downhill and become bloated, like the pre 2008 Norton. Also running MSE on a few computers without any problems.

Only bad thingt o say from mse is that Y can`t use it after installation before updating. It`s really pain when Y´re installing it to a computer witch hasvery low internet speed. There should be a ms page were you can download latest updates to mse before Y`re going to travel to do something to someones computer and the Y might only download very tiny update or none after installation.

complete BS! i'm a network admin and we have 5000 xp pcs and at least 500 2003 servers and Symantec I can say is the worse anti virus software, sometimes I have to install MSE or Avira to remove viruses and spyware from xp pcs, I won't even talk about the management console which half the time cannot reach it's clients, or the clients never get the latest definitions. Microsoft forefront (corporate version of MSE)on the other side is one of the best AV software out there!

Did microsoft ever fix the issue with slow refresh rates with folders with many icons/thumbnails? thats main thing that keeps me from using it.

ShiFteDReaLitY said,
Did microsoft ever fix the issue with slow refresh rates with folders with many icons/thumbnails? thats main thing that keeps me from using it.

I never have this problem, are you sure its not a problem with your OS installation?

yes i Uninstalled it and it stopped there was a youtube video on it but i cant find the link.. for example if you have lots of icons/thumbnails on your desktop or in a folder and you open that or show all all icons the scan is really slow of those like 10 seconds or more to draw all of them.

ShiFteDReaLitY said,
yes i Uninstalled it and it stopped there was a youtube video on it but i cant find the link.. for example if you have lots of icons/thumbnails on your desktop or in a folder and you open that or show all all icons the scan is really slow of those like 10 seconds or more to draw all of them.

I do not have the problem. I've never heard of anyone else having the problem either.

ShiFteDReaLitY said,
Did microsoft ever fix the issue with slow refresh rates with folders with many icons/thumbnails? thats main thing that keeps me from using it.

I have that problem. Less of a problem as it not technically doing anything wrong, but just a nuisance. It took Windows a good 15 seconds yesterday to draw the thumbnails for a new folder with just-transferred video.

ShiFteDReaLitY said,
Did microsoft ever fix the issue with slow refresh rates with folders with many icons/thumbnails? thats main thing that keeps me from using it.

I have that problem. Less of a problem as it not technically doing anything wrong, but just a nuisance. It took Windows a good 15 seconds yesterday to draw the thumbnails for a new folder with just-transferred video.

DarkNovaGamer said,
I do not have the problem. I've never heard of anyone else having the problem either.

Well I have never seen a PC with MSE on it that didn't have the refresh-problem. Which is why I use avast!.

dr_crabman said,

Well I have never seen a PC with MSE on it that didn't have the refresh-problem. Which is why I use avast!.

Each to his own. I own three computers right now, none have the problem you describe. I help at a technical support forum as well and haven't heard of this issue you described. I am not saying it doesn't exist. I am only stating that I have not seen it.

ShiFteDReaLitY said,
yes i Uninstalled it and it stopped there was a youtube video on it but i cant find the link.. for example if you have lots of icons/thumbnails on your desktop or in a folder and you open that or show all all icons the scan is really slow of those like 10 seconds or more to draw all of them.

That's an OS problem not the fault of MSE try turning of Indexing

IntelliMoo said,
Maybe add .jpg, .avi, etc. to the file type exclusion list?

That's a horrible idea as there have been issues with systems being compromised by those types of files.

Omen1393 said,
Wow, AVG scored a 5.5? I thought they were worse than AVG?

AVG picks up like everything. Including false positives lol.

Wow, McAfee Internet Suite 2010 scored 2 in repairs and is not certified. Fromt the paid A/V Panda beats McAfee, Symantec and AVAST overall. Seems like the old players are getting old.

MSE is one of the best AV's ive ever used on Windows, even if they put a price tag on it i would pay it. It's light, easy to use and just sits there and does it's job, a really excellent application.

REM2000 said,
MSE is one of the best AV's ive ever used on Windows, even if they put a price tag on it i would pay it. It's light, easy to use and just sits there and does it's job, a really excellent application.

Yes - its just a shame its not shipped with Windows... mind then Apple wouldn't be able to cry about "security problems".

chaosblade said,
Norton scoring highest, sheesh. What have we come to

Learn some facts about the current Norton product line-up, then comment.

bbfc_uk said,

Learn some facts about the current Norton product line-up, then comment.

+1 NIS 2009/2010 have been great, Symantec really improved them after the (deserved) criticisms of bloat etc from the pre 2008 versions.

Rahul Mulchandani said,
The next step for MSFT should be to integrate control of Antivirus, Anti-Spyware & Firewall in MSE. That would make it AWESOME.

and sue-worthy unfortunately. there's already grumbling about it among the antivirus community and how it's using Microsoft's name unfairly.

AgentGray said,

and sue-worthy unfortunately. there's already grumbling about it among the antivirus community and how it's using Microsoft's name unfairly.

How is it using Microsoft's name unfairly when Microsoft makes it?

AgentGray said,

and sue-worthy unfortunately. there's already grumbling about it among the antivirus community and how it's using Microsoft's name unfairly.

I think you're thinking of the name 'Windows' lol.

Rahul Mulchandani said,
The next step for MSFT should be to integrate control of Antivirus, Anti-Spyware & Firewall in MSE. That would make it AWESOME.

Microsoft planned to do that at one point of time and ship it with Windows. Symantec and McAfee threatened to sue so they called it off.

Technically all those features already exist. Windows firewall, Windows Defender and MSE. MSE controls Defender, just not the firewall.

Rahul Mulchandani said,
The next step for MSFT should be to integrate control of Antivirus, Anti-Spyware & Firewall in MSE. That would make it AWESOME.

Huh? Why?

Vista and 7 already have a two-way firewall with advanced features including port and application blocking, and MSE already have the anti-malware features besides the antivirus engine. With MSE, Windows Defender is not necessary to use, since it comes with that.

Integrating e.g. the firewall with MSE would be completely redundant, unless they bundle MSE with Windows in the future, but I think the users should have that as an option so they can choose what they like most as for antivirus/malware.

Rahul Mulchandani said,
The next step for MSFT should be to integrate control of Antivirus, Anti-Spyware & Firewall in MSE. That would make it AWESOME.

+1

Rahul Mulchandani said,
The next step for MSFT should be to integrate control of Antivirus, Anti-Spyware & Firewall in MSE. That would make it AWESOME.

They have. In the latest beta (ver. 2.0) they added the following:


Windows® Firewall integration: Microsoft Security Essentials setup allows you to turn on Windows Firewall.


Enhanced protection from web-based threats: Microsoft Security Essentials has enhanced integration with Internet Explorer® which helps prevent malicious scripts from running and provides improved protection against web based attacks.


New and improved protection engine: The updated engine offers enhanced detection and cleanup capabilities and better performance.

It surely isn't accurate either. MSE has been better than NOD32 for the past two years now. Everything that NOD32 now misses, MSE finds.

I smell a rat...

excalpius said,
It surely isn't accurate either. MSE has been better than NOD32 for the past two years now. Everything that NOD32 now misses, MSE finds.

I smell a rat...

NOD32 is one of the most overpriced/overhyped products in the history of personal computing.

excalpius said,
It surely isn't accurate either. MSE has been better than NOD32 for the past two years now. Everything that NOD32 now misses, MSE finds.

Thats great, since MSE has not even been out a year yet.

Max™ said,

Thats great, since MSE has not even been out a year yet.

I think he was refering to NOD32 being bad for the past two years, which I agree with.

Max™ said,

Thats great, since MSE has not even been out a year yet.

It has been out publicly for over a year, with the "final build" being almost a year old.

COKid said,

NOD32 is one of the most overpriced/overhyped products in the history of personal computing.

Not really true in the slightest. There was a period of time where it was fantastically strong and incredibly lightweight at the same time. That time has passed, but people don't hype it as much any more, people do realise that its quality has dropped.

COKid said,

NOD32 is one of the most overpriced/overhyped products in the history of personal computing.


It may be overpriced, but I don't think it's overhyped. It's one of the top security products out there, and far ahead of McAffee and Symantec.

It "use" to be a great product, but since 4.x, I quit using it. When it was a stand alone AV, I liked it, but just like everyone else, they start in with the "suites" BS, and it became bloated.
MSE, malwarebytes, ccleaner, spybot all I need.

COKid said,

NOD32 is one of the most overpriced/overhyped products in the history of personal computing.

naap51stang said,
It "use" to be a great product, but since 4.x, I quit using it. When it was a stand alone AV, I liked it, but just like everyone else, they start in with the "suites" BS, and it became bloated.
MSE, malwarebytes, ccleaner, spybot all I need.

The AV is still fine. I don't see any bloat in it.

Northgrove said,

It may be overpriced, but I don't think it's overhyped. It's one of the top security products out there, and far ahead of McAffee and Symantec.

No, it's not, at least compared to Symantec who have become better and better while NOD32 is on a steady decline. The detection rates aren't the best anymore and there are more resource-friendly solutions. It's not really bad but there is no real reason to use it nowadays.

dave164 said,
Been using MSE since it was released, awesome product

I agree. In this case I think it shows that the same guys who build Windows have done their security product. They know their system well, and how to minimize the impact on performance. I also have no qualms with "abuse of monopoly", since system security is so closely related to the OS anyway.

They should test the speed and overall system slowdown.

Some certified antivirus software there are really system hogs.

Glendi said,
They should test the speed and overall system slowdown.

Some certified antivirus software there are really system hogs.

Next to nil with MSE

warwagon said,

On Vista and 7 maybe, but a CPU whore on XP

You always say this. I have it running on dozens on XP systems without a problem.

episode said,

You always say this. I have it running on dozens on XP systems without a problem.

I agree. I fix people computer once a while and I`ve installed many times mse to xp.
Only time when mse was totally broken there was broken hdd. Mse has been and is very light on all windows that is supports.

episode said,

You always say this. I have it running on dozens on XP systems without a problem.

Experience shows that if an XP system is being a CPU hog with MSE, it has a bit of malware that often takes a couple of passes and shoves it to do a more complete scan.

MSE can be set to do realtime of Internet activity, and not monitor every EXE launched, and then do a nightly complete scan. This is usually the fastest and still safe option for average users.

Been working with security and malware and antivirus software since the first Norton, and MSE is holding #1 as our team's favorite right now, especially on Vista and Win7.

Even in the old days, products like Norton that did realtime scans were good, but when they would hit EXEs that were VB based would dramatically slow down the applications. It is identifying these anomolies and adjusting for them.

Good luck and give MSE a try, as it is less invasive than other tools even on XP, as it doesn't overtake and 'undo' the MS networking stacks and etc...

episode said,
You always say this. I have it running on dozens on XP systems without a problem.

Yeah, I get tired of seeing the same story myself. I've run it on dozens of lab computers back at my old job, as well as having installed it on numerous computers (many old Dells at that) without any complaints... All XP too.

dead.cell said,

Yeah, I get tired of seeing the same story myself. I've run it on dozens of lab computers back at my old job, as well as having installed it on numerous computers (many old Dells at that) without any complaints... All XP too.

Same here it even runs fine on an WinXP/Athlon XP 3200+/1GB machine my friend has he says he doesn't even notice it running in the background but when he had Mcstuffies on he said it would completely bog the machine down

Great seeing this article. My Kaspersky subscription is due to end in 9 days, so I will let it expire and try out this free suite from MS. Hopefully it will be as good as everyone here makes it out to be

Anarkii said,
Great seeing this article. My Kaspersky subscription is due to end in 9 days, so I will let it expire and try out this free suite from MS. Hopefully it will be as good as everyone here makes it out to be

Security Essentials is not really a suite at all, its an antivirus/anti-malware. No firewall, nothing extra. Just decent AV that doesn't knock 30% of the system performance of the box you install it on.

thequestor said,

Security Essentials is not really a suite at all, its an antivirus/anti-malware. No firewall, nothing extra. Just decent AV that doesn't knock 30% of the system performance of the box you install it on.

Unless it's on XP box . . .

And Kaspersky doesn't put much strain on my system.

Anarkii said,
Great seeing this article. My Kaspersky subscription is due to end in 9 days, so I will let it expire and try out this free suite from MS. Hopefully it will be as good as everyone here makes it out to be

I liked ESET's security suite but I decided not to renew it for a third year and put on Comodo firewall and MSE instead.

Sophpos and AVG are both pretty bad at detecting script malware according to AV Comparatives.

Source: http://www.av-comparatives.org/

What's annoying for me is that two different AV companies can come to two very different conclusions on the same AV. Make you wonder if it even matters what you use as long as it's not horrible. I'll stick with Avast for now though. Tired of going back and forth and I know it has detected some things while using my laptop.

I haven't seen good things on AVG, but all of a sudden these guys are like, AVG is great!
Dunno what to believe anymore about these studies. Maybe I should stick with Kapersky for a while? What do you guys think?

Edited by KSib, Aug 21 2010, 10:26pm :