Tag Archive | Microsoft Security Essentials

Annual Antivirus Toplist Report – 2013 (premium & free)

2013-review

Welcome to our second toplist of antivirus software. The following are independently reviewed security products, compiled from a list of average reviews for 2013 products!

Premium

Premium antivirus software provides the best antivirus protection and safeguards your computer, your identity, and all of your personal information saved on the computer. Some programs provide extra features, such as free online backup, auto-sandbox (which runs your programs in a safe environment to make sure they are not malicious), and social networking protection. The percentages in rank were based on an average of virus removal, protection, and overall performance. Note: only some testing data is available, here.

  1. Bitdefender – 95% – Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013 builds on #1 ranked silent security technology to stop e-threats, secure online transactions, and defend your privacy on social networks.
  2. Kaspersky – 90% – The next recommended program, Kaspersky Antivirus, usually yields the highest results in antivirus testing groups, and is one of the most trusted. Its antivirus product is well worth its cost. What’s even better is the amount of features it has – and the strength of each feature. Each individual feature has a good amount of protection involved. It truly is the pro-active piece of software that every computer needs!
  3. Norton – 87% – Symantec’s awesome Norton products have grown up from a nice antivirus to a very awesome powerhouse packed with great features and a cool-looking interface. Although the interface is a little tough for beginners, it sure has the amount of protection-based features needed to keep the viruses out! With its new identity protection interfaces, it deserves spot two!
  4. F-Secure – 84.4% – F-Secure software has risen up to become a great competitor to other antivirus vendors. Its feature-rich interface and good heuristics, paired with lightweight performance, makes this program a star! Kudos!
  5. Trend Micro – 83.8% – This vendor has absolutely grown up lately, from a bit mediocre to a much better, more advanced antivirus program. They have truly made reviewers (like me) proud!
  6. G Data – 81% – This vendor is not exactly as we expected, when people were telling us how good they are. But, they did do a good job blocking threats, but removing existing threats took quite a while to do. I can understand being thorough, but being a bit more timely might be a good idea..
  7. BullGuard – 78% – This was unexpected. BullGuard, like Trend Micro, surprised us big time. The amount of effort the developers put into this program was unbelievable. We say kudos to the developers! Some improvement is still needed, but nonetheless, good job!
  8. AVG – 77% – AVG for years has provided good protection. It provides great feature rich software. The only takeaway, the problem of false positives, but more realistically – once a system has been infected, AVG software gets hostile (which requires complete uninstall and reinstall for it to work properly again). Their response on false positives is not quick enough, which can cause problems with trust. Trust is very important to PC users. This program came in spot eight, again, because of that!
  9. Avast – 76% – This antivirus program may very well be the feature-rich program of the year. Improving greatly from previous years, it shows each new year how much it has grown to be a beneficial program for almost any system. The only problem that was seen in Avast Pro Antivirus compared to other ones listed above this one, were the ability to stop a malicious download immediately in its tracks. However, with every new program update comes a much better way to block these infected sites.
  10. Webroot – 75% – Webroot has stepped it up with SecureAnywhere, after SpySweeper was retired, but they need to step it up more. Especially on the aspects of removal and protection. Antivirus software needs to be more of protecting and keeping the user safe, not just removing viruses.
  11. Avira – 74% – Avira provides social networking protection, anti-phishing, and pro-active HIPS protection in its newer versions of antivirus. However, it may not be as feature-rich as other programs in its class, and this may take away from the functionality of the antivirus engine (which failed to block a few threats) and does not remove some viruses very well (maybe lacking the proper tools to do it). It did not block 100% of malware, but came fairly – blocking approximately 96% of threats.
  12. ESET – 72.3% ESET has done a great job making NOD32 Antivirus in to a lightweight powerhouse! However, it lacks the ability to find all of the viruses on a hostile system, and the heuristics are a bit lacking. But, hopefully, next year will be much better.
  13. Panda Security – 71.9% – This one was a hard one to judge. When tested on many different systems in the past, it was recognized to provide good protection and great features, however, it lacked performance. Some of the performance lacks had to do with running on a hostile system around a lot of viruses: the program had slowed to a halt. However, the sandbox system, good heuristics, and overall complete protection is what makes it okay!
  14. GFI Vipre – 70.7% – no review written.
  15. McAfee – 66% – no review written.

Free

Free antivirus software provides a temporary means to safeguard your computer, while you can save money for a premium investment…

  1. Avast  – This is growing itself a trend for the best free antivirus. It is thought one of the best promotion techniques they have used in the recent year was contests for their users. From what was seen in our perspective, Avast has an awesomely fast antivirus engine. However, it barely slipped from first place due to its false positives and lack of stronger heuristics needed for the bigger threats. But, since it is free, it goes to show that users need a premium antivirus protection.
  2. AVG – Its good detection and smart heuristics allow it to be a powerful antivirus program, however, it has dealt with false positives on an uncomfortable scale before, so second place is where it sits this time!
  3. Avira  – What is good about Avira Free is that it continually shows good protection against all Windows platforms. What is bad is that it cannot run 100% on heavily infected systems. This is a common problem with antivirus software, but Avira Free has shown to not function very well. May be due to the lack of a well-coded self-protection driver, but nonetheless good luck in the future!
  4. ZoneAlarmIt is assured that ZoneAlarm’s new free program has what it takes to be a good antivirus program. However, due to a few false positives, it ranked 4th this time.
  5. Microsoft Security Essentials – This comes far as one of the most lightweight and simplistic antivirus programs on the market. Microsoft is the maker of the Windows operating system, of course, so it gave users a trustworthiness factor for Microsoft Security Essentials. However, due to the fact it has missed quite a few viruses and it does not remove viruses pretty well, it ranked last on the free list.

Thanks for reading this review. Feel free to comment below. 🙂

Microsoft Security Essentials FAILS latest AV-Test

AV-Test.org is mse-blockedthreat-screenshota German publisher of comparative reviews on a slew of antivirus products. They review all types of antivirus and security suite products, and the tests are very beneficial to customers and for companies. Their reviews are published bi-monthly.

The latest review shows that Microsoft Security Essentials was the only one who did not make the cut for an award. They failed to make certification during the latest review. Now, it is unclear on whether Microsoft’s Anti-Malware Team was stressed of working double on the super-improved Windows Defender for Windows 8, or if malware has just been too troublesome.

Microsoft Security Essentials is, according to Opswat’s September 2012 market share report, used by almost 14 percent of the security market worldwide. That is a lot compared to the number of antivirus product vendors available, which is over 50 vendors. It is highly difficult to maintain antivirus software during the current industry, because hackers and cybercriminals are much more numerous than the amount of security researchers and developers there are to counteract the attacks.

Many antivirus companies have employed new tactics to have robot schemes set up to do malware research on its own, rather than hire a lot of security researchers. By doing so, the antivirus company would have the risk of dealing with a lot of false positives. Some have led to believe this is the uprising trouble in companies like AVG, ESET, or Kaspersky – those of whom have seen a rise in false positives in the past couple of years.

Latest round of AV tests:

Windows 8 Security Features Explained (mini-whitepaper)

Windows 8 is apparently more secure than Windows 7. Perhaps this is true, and it is best to learn what security features there are for the new operating system. Some of these security features are verified to help out very well in the security of Windows 8, and some may not be in time, or lastly some may not work at all.

One of the most discussed security features is Secure Boot. Now, Secure Boot is a Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) specified in the boot process to check cryptographic signatures of kernel-mode drivers, making sure they aren’t modified or corrupted. In other words, the boot process is now made to check if the operating system has been corrupted by malware or some other issue.

This is all part of a hardware restriction process called Hardware DRM. All non-ARM devices have the option to turn Secure Boot off, however ARM devices must keep it on. Experts state that it will be resistant to rootkits, since the MBR and BIOS cannot be accessed, unless if someone working on the computer penetrates it.

Next, Windows 8 features better built in antivirus software, with a much better improved Windows Defender. The software in Windows 8 is combined with the optional tool Microsoft Security Essentials. Now, with Windows Defender super-powered with MSE, it has much more anti-malware features.

With better anti-malware features, Internet Explorer is now made with better features as well. It has the ability to prevent zero-day exploits much greater than previous versions of Internet Explorer. With the challenges of exploiting Windows 7, there was the issue risen up again for Java and Flash Player, so hackers can gain control over the operating system. Those browser plugins are now easier to exploit than the Internet Explorer’s code.

A new application sandboxing environment called AppContainer provides the ability to run all apps in a controlled environment, where it controls how apps work. This prevents apps from disrupting the operating system. Of course, this is just supplemented by Internet Explorer’s SmartScreen filter, which prevents the download/install of known malicious software. However, Windows 8 now has SmartScreen available for any app, allowing even more prevention. Of course, this means Microsoft employees are going to increase in numbers, if they really want to keep up. Now that hackers know their new challenges, they will be relentless.

The questions are still played on whether Windows 8 will be a repeat of Vista or not. The reality of the situation, is if Windows 8 has big popularity, then the security issues will also light up big time. However, many will stick to Windows 7, so the security issues for Windows users are not close to be over. Feel free to take a look at related articles below for Symantec’s opinions, which aren’t too well on the new OS.

Added October 31, 2012: Trusted Platform Module, read more

Keep up with the latest security tips on our blog here. In addition, please donate to help us continue to write these awesome whitepapers.

Antivirus Software Toplist (Top 20) – Summer 2012

GET THE NEW TOPLIST FOR 2013

 


Get the review of Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware

The following are independently reviewed security products – Actual testing data not available

Free

Free antivirus software provides a temporary means to safeguard your computer, while you can save money for a premium investment (below the free ratings)…

  1. Avast Antivirus Free is growing itself a trend for the best free antivirus. It is thought one of the best promotion techniques they have used in the recent year was contests for their users. From what was seen in our perspective, Avast has an awesomely fast antivirus engine. However, it barely slipped from first place due to its false positives and lack of stronger heuristics needed for the bigger threats. But, since it is free, it goes to show that users need a premium antivirus protection (as we show the rankings for below).
  2. Microsoft Security Essentials came out as one of the most lightweight and simplistic antivirus programs on the market. Microsoft is the maker of the Windows operating system, of course, so it gave users a trustworthiness factor for Microsoft Security Essentials. And ever since then, it’s been magic. With its ability to detect some rootkits, it comes in second place, but not too far under first.
  3. Avira Free  What is good about Avira Free is that it continually shows good protection against all Windows platforms. What is bad is that it cannot run 100% on heavily infected systems. This is a common problem with antivirus software, but Avira Free has shown to not function very well. May be due to the lack of a well-coded self-protection driver.
  4. ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus/Firewall
    It is assured that ZoneAlarm’s new free program has what it takes to be a good antivirus program. Further testing is needed to rate the overall effectiveness of this program. Stay tuned to our blog for future reviews!
  5. AVG Antivirus Free ranks in fifth for many reasons. Its good detection and smart heuristics allow it to be a powerful antivirus program, however, it has dealt with false positives on an uncomfortable scale.

Premium (reviews written for the first ten)

Premium antivirus software provides the best antivirus protection and safeguards your computer, your identity, and all of your personal information saved on the computer. Some programs provide extra features, such as free online backup, auto-sandbox (which runs your programs in a safe environment to make sure they are not malicious), and social networking protection.

  1. Kaspersky Antivirus – For the antivirus program most recommended is Kaspersky Antivirus. It yields the highest results in antivirus testing groups, and is one of the most trusted. Its antivirus product is well worth its cost. What’s even better is the amount of features it has – and the strength of each feature. Each individual feature has a good amount of protection involved. It truly is the pro-active piece of software that every computer needs!
  2. Norton Antivirus – Symantec’s awesome Norton products have grown up from a nice antivirus to a very awesome powerhouse packed with great features and a cool-looking interface. Although the interface is a little tough for beginners, it sure has the amount of protection-based features needed to keep the viruses out! With its new identity protection interfaces, it deserves spot two!
  3. ESET NOD32 Antivirus – ESET has done a great job making NOD32 Antivirus in to a lightweight powerhouse! Its lightning-fast response to incoming threats, and economical cost make it the best buy and best protection!
  4. Avira Premium Antivirus – Avira got very intelligent lately, providing social networking protection, anti-phishing, and pro-active HIPS protection to an already awesome antivirus. It may not be as feature-rich as other programs in its class, but it sure has the knowledgeable databases and program functions to protect the common user. Now, the biggest boost in ranking is its successful rootkit protection interface. It did not block 100% of malware, but came pretty darn close!!
  5. Avast Pro Antivirus – This antivirus program may very well be the feature-rich program of the year. Improving greatly from previous years, it shows each new year how much it has grown to be a beneficial program for almost any system. The only problem that was seen in Avast Pro Antivirus compared to other ones listed above this one, were the ability to stop a malicious download immediately in its tracks. However, with every new program update comes a much better way to block these infected sites.
  6. BitDefender Antivirus Plus – Due to the surplus of features that this program encompasses compared to previous years, it got its sixth place spot. It almost came in fifth place, especially because of its brilliant social media protection.
  7. F-Secure Antivirus – F-Secure software has risen up to become a great competitor to other antivirus vendors. Its feature-rich interface and good heuristics, paired with lightweight performance, makes this program a star! Kudos! Spot seven for F-Secure!!
  8. AVG Antivirus – AVG for years has provided good protection. It provides great feature rich software. The only takeaway, as described above for the free edition: the problem of false positives. Their response on false positives is not quick enough, which can cause problems with trust. Trust is very important to PC users. This program came in spot eight because of that!
  9. PC Tools’s Spyware Doctor with Antivirus – Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus delivers powerful antivirus and antispyware protection using layered technologies to defend your PC against malware attacks. Patent-pending ThreatFire™ behavioral intelligence blocks new threats faster than traditional signature methods!! However, due to its poor reliability to new malware, such as zero-day threats, we had to bring it down to spot nine!
  10. Panda Security’s Antivirus Pro – This one was a hard one to judge. When tested on many different systems in the past, it was recognized to provide good protection and great features, however, it lacked performance. Some of the performance lacks had to do with running on a hostile system around a lot of viruses: the program had slowed to a halt. However, the sandbox system, good heuristics, and overall complete protection let this program take spot ten!
  11. Agnitum’s Outpost Pro Antivirus
  12. Webroot SecureAnywhere
  13. Dr. Web Antivirus
  14. BullGuard Antivirus
  15. Rising Antivirus
 

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