Windows Defender picked apart

Windows Defender, a security application built in to windows Vista, has again come in for criticism from security experts.

Researchers from Enex TestLab, an independent testing facility, tested Windows Defender and found that it only blocked 46 per cent of current spyware threats.

"These results show Vista requires more work to protect users," said Matt Tett, Senior Test Engineer for Enex TestLab.

However, Microsoft has always maintained that Windows Defender is supposed to work in conjunction with third-party security software, not instead of it. Microsoft's Jim Allchin was forced to clarify comments he made in November last year when he said his son was using a Vista PC with no anti-virus software installed.

View: Full Article @ Webuser

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Who's reading your mail?

Next Story

Xbox 360 price drop on the way soon?

30 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I got W32/Agobot-S and two other infections within 48 hours of installing Vista. It has no protection as far as I'm concerned. Thank God for AVG.

Why does everyone take the word of this no-name "Enex TestLab" as gospel? How many people running Vista with Windows Defender as the only AS app have actually been infected with spyware? I'd guess that number is very low. All of the knee-jerking in this thread is stupid.

i expected more from microsoft antispyware the older version was very well ranked since it changed to defender everythng seems faster (a little bit) but crappy protection. Giant did a better work well that time. This its a good example of how good companies become crap when bigger companies like microsoft buy them.

Yes, I am sad to hear this. Defender was awesome when it first came out (as the rebranded GIANT program). It sounds as though I'll need to run ANOTHER anti-spyware ap (adaware?) which I thought I would never need to do.

So, is it true that MS has let definitions/features slip on Defender? I see new definitions almost every day via windows update, but if they're crap, I'll switch back again.

I'm using NOD32 for AV and (currently) only Defender for AS/AM. Any recommendations?

Or is this article full of it?

excalpius said,
I'm using NOD32 for AV and (currently) only Defender for AS/AM. Any recommendations?

As Defender sucks so badly it can't find even half of the threats, it's pointless to use it in the first place. Turn it off so it doesn't waste any resources and use Ad-Aware instead. Using Ad-Aware alone (besides an AV program) is already a huge deal better. If you rally wanted, you could still use Spybot Search&Destroy on top of it, but there's no need for it, as Ad-Aware generally finds anything.

Thanks for the advice. I have some caveats though.

The reason I switched to defender was because I have seen SPYBOT disabled by spyware repeatedly on multiple systems under numerous circumstances. In fact, it is the ONLY anti-spyware program I have ever seen fail repeatedly. Defender has seemingly never failed me (or anyone I know or help) and ad-aware used to be weak, but I'm hearing good things about it again.

So, I'll try ad-aware again see how it works. For now, I'm going to use it in addition to defender...until more evidence comes in one way or another I suspect.

No, if you're smart you don't use Vlite to remove things you may need. Defender contains access to Software Explorer, so you remove defender you remove easy access to that too. So many stupid people crippling their Vista by removing necessary components to save 10MB of disk space, because they think it's "smart" or cool. If you don't want Defender to run there's one simple option you can use in it to turn it off entirely, why remove it altogether with Vlite? Damn kids...

Defender built into Vista and protecting the average user from day one is better than the nothing in XP which provided zero protection. Contrary to popular belief, most people are not aware of malware threats, and may not be able to work out what to use to defend themselves, so at least Defender, a free built-in component of Vista gives them that level of protection they otherwise wouldn't have.

You're right, I agree, and i've been using it since the first beta on XP, no spyware here, I also run a 2nd one around once a month just to cross check and see if defender missed anything, but nothings come up at all. It's doing it's job, and it's doing it quite well.

Also the whole thing about Vlite and whatever, i'm not a fan of that, they have huge hdds for cheap prices, why would you want to remove a small program like defender which plays a key part for security and also gives you other options/funtionality?

Whatever the case, I like it, it's working, no spyware here.

7Dash8 said,
No, if you're smart you don't use Vlite to remove things you may need. Defender contains access to Software Explorer, so you remove defender you remove easy access to that too. So many stupid people crippling their Vista by removing necessary components to save 10MB of disk space, because they think it's "smart" or cool. If you don't want Defender to run there's one simple option you can use in it to turn it off entirely, why remove it altogether with Vlite? Damn kids...

Nice attempt at trolling, but not good enough. Calling others "kids" won't get you anywhere, too. You'll only make yourself look bad by posting such dimwitted stuff.

Removing Defender and other pointless crap (Media Centre, Movie Maker etc.) is not about saving space, it's about removing unwanted components which you are forced to install on a normal install of Vista even if you don't want to use them.
If Nero7 brings a crapload of other programs along with the burning stuff, everyone screams, but if Vista forces you to install all sorts of useless crap, it's suddenly ok?

If you like others to decide for you what gets installed on your PC and what not because you're too incapable to decide what you need and what not, then suit yourself.
I'll still decide for myself what gets installed on my PC.

I had to uninstall nero entirely to get rid of all of its crap. Very sad. I used to be able to count on it as a simple Burning ROM application. Now, seemingly no matter what you try, you get a whole bunch of stupid media indexing services, codecs, etc. I've had to try Vista's CD burning and I have to say it is a VAST improvement over XP. Okay, so Nero loses a paying customer because of bloatware. Sigh.

excalpius said,
I had to uninstall nero entirely to get rid of all of its crap. Very sad. I used to be able to count on it as a simple Burning ROM application. Now, seemingly no matter what you try, you get a whole bunch of stupid media indexing services, codecs, etc. I've had to try Vista's CD burning and I have to say it is a VAST improvement over XP. Okay, so Nero loses a paying customer because of bloatware. Sigh.

What I've said, everyone complains about Nero7 being bloatware, yet it actually gives you a choice of what to install via a Custom Install.
Vista is pretty much the Nero7 of OSes, but it forces you to install all the useless crap it comes with, and with 10GB it needs a lot more space than an XP install (ok, HDs have become cheap, but still quite a difference). Yet I have to see just a single post saying "Vista loses a paying customer because of bloatware".
Even worse, some clueless moron pops up and derides the people not wanting to be forced to install all the crap

On a sidenote, XP was no different there and also forced you to install all the crap it came with, which is why nLite came up.

No, it's the clueless morons removing important components of an OS which need the wakeup call. What on earth is the point of removing Windows Defender? Do you understand that it contains a very useful tool called Software Explorer inside it? Of course not - because you and many others are blindly removing things like Windows Defender, Internet Explorer, etc. because it's "cool" to strip out half an OS. Even though it makes ZERO difference to performance, and you can easily disable Defender by ticking two options and selecting OK instead.

It's not "smart" to disable things you don't understand. If you don't know what an OS does then don't mess with its components. Like all the idiots who are currently disabling most of the services in Vista and have no clue at all what they're doing to their PC.

But I guess you can only lead a horse to water, you can't make them drink. You guys go ahead and "take control of your PCs" by stripping out important components...

Aero Ultimate,

Nero's Custom Install gives you no way to ONLY install Nero Burning ROM that DOESN'T INCLUDE the Nero Home indexing services, etc. etc. I tried...turning off everything BUT that section/application...still the junk got installed. Grrrr...

Doesn't surprise me one bit. The so-called "security" products from MS (Defender, Firewall, Onecare) have all shown to be of a very poor quality
If you're smart, you use vLite to remove this garbage and use proper working alternatives like Ad-Aware for spyware and Kaspersky as anti-virus and firewall (better firewalls for Vista coming soon).

Seriously, Do you trust windows defender. Me. No.

But, Defender allows me to see what change my system and I can allow or prohibit it on the fly. Just try to set that options. It is very useful

superhuman said,
Seriously, Do you trust windows defender. Me. No.

I trust defender just fine, I use it along with AVG Free 7.5 for AV protection, I also have spybot Search and Distroy on the side, but only run that at best once a month just for the hell of it.

I haven't gotten anything in the past year, maybe even longer than that really, A few times some virus would be in a zip file, but AVG gets it, and defender does it's job also, plus the built in windows firewall is working just fine.

So, as far as things go for me, no problems, and everything is nice and secure.

OUCH AVG SUCKS. I've seen it FAIL more times than Norton...and Norton is the PITS. I really recommend you move to NOD32 ASAP. AVG is just plain garbage. I've heard Avast is better for freeware though if you really don't have $30 for AV.

It's not true. If your home was without an electricity 1% of time, that's 3.5 days/year. Are you satisfied with that? If 1 spyware comes through, it can eventualy require you to reinstall your OS or in worst case you lose you data. Wanna come work for me, I'll pay you 1$ a month....hey, better than nothing.

theh0g said,
It's not true. If your home was without an electricity 1% of time, that's 3.5 days/year. Are you satisfied with that? If 1 spyware comes through, it can eventualy require you to reinstall your OS or in worst case you lose you data. Wanna come work for me, I'll pay you 1$ a month....hey, better than nothing.
I love it when people compare computers with extreme real-life cases. Look, you can't compare getting spyware to not having power in your house, they are completely different things. Quit trying to make it seem like its a life threatening situation when you compare stuff.

"These results show Vista requires more work to protect users,” said Matt Tett, Senior Test Engineer for Enex TestLab.

I didn't realize Windows Defender and Vista were one and the same.

Since Defender is unseparatable part of Vista it is correct to talk about Vista. Microsoft always says Vista is secure and other time that it's secure because of Defender. Try not to pick on individual words just for sake of argument, that's really pathetic.

theh0g said,
Since Defender is unseparatable part of Vista it is correct to talk about Vista. Microsoft always says Vista is secure and other time that it's secure because of Defender. Try not to pick on individual words just for sake of argument, that's really pathetic.

Nonsense. The Defender crap can be easily removed with vLite. The reason I removed it mas it seriously went on my nerves, like blocking my autostart apps at every startup without a chance to permanently permit them. As is seen now, it even really sucks at its primary purpose, finding spyware, so there's no reason to keep it.

The greatest piece of PC security is common sense, this is the only thing that has not changed since the dawn of the internet and it's the reason why many people out there have no issues with security because they use common sense online.

I think these companies like above make a big deal over a small issue. It's the users fault if they are not willing to spend a week to become up to speed with modern day security technologies and how the internet works.

People use common sense when online? When did that start? Every computer I work on for people has either a virus or multiple types of spyware from those "free screensavers" or other places. Not to mention when telling people about using alternate emails with SPAM, what programs to protect themseleves with, downloading certain free programs, etc., they have no clue. You're right in that the greatest piece of security is common sense, but wrong is the assumption that most people have it in regards to the internet. Companies need anything they can to help protect against threats incurred by their employees.