Microsoft has always been a strong proponent of Windows Defender, and for good reason. Earlier this year, the company's software prevented a "massive" coin mining attack. In fact, the Redmond giant also announced that Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is coming to Windows 7 and 8.1 too.
Now, Microsoft has shared some statistics touting the importance of Windows Defender in the current state of cybersecurity.
Tests conducted by independent firm AV-TEST during the time period January to February 2018 showed that Microsoft's Windows Defender combats most security threats. The findings of this report have been summarized below:
- Protection: Windows Defender Antivirus (Windows Defender AV) achieved a perfect score in Protection, maintaining consistently high scores in this category.
- Usability (false positives): Windows Defender AV achieved an improved Usability score of 5.5/6.0. Per our telemetry, samples that Windows Defender AV incorrectly classified (false positive) had very low prevalence and are not commonly used in business context.
- Performance: Windows Defender AV improved this cycle, achieving a 5.5/6.0 Performance score and outperforming the industry in almost all areas. These results reflect the investments we put in optimizing Windows Defender AV performance for high-frequency actions (e.g., application run).
Microsoft noted that tests only assessed the anti-virus capabilities of Windows Defender, and that to fully test the security of the company's solution, it is better to view it in context of Windows Defender ATP. It noted that Windows Defender only missed two out of thousands of tested samples, however, when its engineers tested it against the complete Windows Defender ATP stack, these threats were recognized and mitigated by other components like SmartScreen, Application Control, and Application Guard.
Microsoft says that:
As threats become more sophisticated, Microsoft and other security platform vendors continue evolving their product capabilities to detect threats across different attack stages. We hope to see independent testers evolve their methodologies as well. Our customers need greater transparency and optics into what an end-to-end solution can accomplish in terms of total preventive protection, including the quality of individual components like antivirus. Microsoft is highly engaged in working with several independent testers to evolve security testing to focus on end-to-end security stack testing.
As always, Microsoft has recommended users to check out the new capabilities that it has added to Windows Defender ATP in the April 2018 Update, and has also stated that it is continuously improving its anti-virus solution.