Now that the basics are out of the way, I am sure that you would like to know if this thing is worth installing on your system. I can tell you that I am by no means a professional security firm and in no way, shape, or form, a security expert. I can tell you that I am objective, industrious, and curious. With that said, I have been searching the web for the last 10 days reading articles from professional security firms and persons about Microsoft Security Essentials. I have easily read more than 100 articles over these 10 days and I am tired of looking at my monitor.
How does this thing stack up to the competition?
Virus Bulletin (virusbtn.com) does a ton of comparative tests for AV products and offers much the same testing procedures from other testing facilities. One of the things that I found is that many of these tests incorporate testing for the “WildList” and all AV products are expected to detect 100% of threats described on the list and report 0 (zero) false positives. The WildList (http://www.wildlist.org/WildList/) is described as follows:
This is a cooperative listing of viruses reported as being in the wild by virus information professionals. The basis for these reports are virus incidents where a sample was received, and positively identified by the participant. Rumors and unverified reports have been excluded.
Some programs included in this list may fall outside the traditional definition of a computer virus. However, such programs are spreading throughout diverse user populations, are a threat to users and are therefore included in this list.
This report is cumulative. That is, this is not just a report of which viruses were seen last month. Monthly data is received from most participants, but the new data is added to the old. Participants are expected to let us know when to remove their name from a virus.
The list should not be considered a list of “the most common viruses”, however, since no specific provision is made for a commonness factor.
This data indicates only “which” viruses are In-the-Wild, but viruses reported by many (or most) participants are obviously widespread.
The WildList is currently being used as the basis for in-the-wild virus testing and certification of anti-virus products by the ICSA, Virus Bulletin and Secure Computing. Additionally, a virus collection based upon The WildList is being used in an effort to standardize the naming of common viruses.
Microsoft Security Essentials made the grade as you would expect, but don’t be tricked into thinking that all AV programs pass this test. A few companies failed this test and most notably was CA with their business AV solution missing twice for threats on the WildList.
In an article published by Zdnet (tests for the article were conducted by AV-Test.org), Microsoft Security Essentials is cited for a 98% detection rate for 545,034 malware samples (viruses, bots, trojans, backdoors, worms, etc). MSE also scored a 90.95% detection rate for more than 14 thousand adware and spyware samples, and detected/removed all 25 rootkit samples. There are no shortage of articles on the web that describe this exact test including ones published by various security blogs and sites such as CNET, the TechReport, Computerworld, and the Register.
MSSE also received the “Advanced+” rating from AV-Comparatives.org (http://www.av-comparatives.org/comparativesreviews/main-tests) in its detection/benchmark testing of various AV solutions, beating out competition from the likes of Symantec, BitDefender, AVG, McAfee, and more. Included in the test were:
- avast! Professional Edition 4.8.1348
- AVG Anti-Virus 8.5.406
- AVIRA AntiVir Premium 18.104.22.1686
- BitDefender Anti-Virus 22.214.171.124
- eScan Anti-Virus 10.0.997.491
- ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4.0.437.0
- F-Secure Anti-Virus 10.00.246
- G DATA AntiVirus 126.96.36.199
- Kaspersky Anti-Virus 188.8.131.523
- Kingsoft AntiVirus 2009.08.05.16
- McAfee VirusScan Plus 13.11.102
- Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0
- Norman Antivirus & Anti-Spyware 7.10.02
- Sophos Anti-Virus 7.6.10
- Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 184.108.40.206
- Trustport Antivirus 2009 220.127.116.1117
In my personal experience with MSSE, I have noticed a much more responsive system than was the case with running AVG Free. Also, I have noticed that MSSE has detected and removed viruses that Symantec AV Corporate was unable to find / remove and has since replaced Symantec on my work PC.
This all boils down to an Antivirus software package that does a good job at what it’s supposed to do and comes in at the perfect price. However, I don’t want any of you to be confused into thinking that because you download this AV product or pay for that one that you are immune to threats on the internet. These are simply security LAYERS that can help REDUCE the risk of you contracting an internet STD. For the price… you can’t beat it. Bottom line… would I buy it? I don’t need to, it’s free and already running on my systems.