Microsoft Security Essentials, or MSSE for short, was the only Antivirus and anti-malware software entry to fail AV-Test’s certification between September and October. This news is alarming because many Windows users rely on MSSE as their only form of antivirus protection.
According to Tech Spot, MSSE received a total of 10.5 out of 18 possible points, barely falling short of the 11 points necessary to receive AV-Test’s certification. MSSE most notably failed in zero-day malware attacks. MSSE only received 1.5 out of 6.0 for system protection, but fared better when it came to repairing infections and usability: 3.5 and 5.5 out of 6.0, respectively.
AV-Test is an independent German organization which evaluates antivirus software every two months. AV-Test’s certification is by no means an antivirus industry requirement for Microsoft, but their test results have served as a standardized benchmark for years. AV Comparatives is a similar company that highly rated MSSE back in 2009 but as of 2010 Microsoft’s antivirus software has been missing in action from their tests. Perhaps we should take that as a bad sign?
Microsoft Security Essentials is a popular antivirus solution precisely because it is 100 percent free for all users of Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. For Windows 8, Microsoft changed the name of MSSE to “Windows Defender” and it comes pre-installed on the Windows 8 Operating System.
Fortunately for those using Windows-based computers on a small budget, there are plenty of other free antivirus options that are good. Avast scored 14 points to edge out competitors AVG (12.5 points) and Avira (12 points). Bitdefender is not free but it’s the reigning champion, scoring a knockout with with an almost perfect score of 17 points. I would also personally recommend Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to supplement your primary antivirus solution.