Independent security testing outfit AV-Test has officially ranked Microsoft's free Windows Defender anti-virus software as the best around, a distinct departure from its bottom-of-the-table results at launch a decade ago.
First released as Microsoft Security Essentials back in September 2009, the anti-virus software now known as Windows Defender took quite some time to find its feet: Even four years after launch, the software was sat at the bottom of the table at independent security testing outfit AV-Test - though Microsoft's Joe Blackbird took umbrage at some of the company's testing methodology, while simultaneously pledging that future releases would do better.
A decade on, and Microsoft Security Essentials - now known as Windows Defender - has redeemed itself in the eyes of AV-Test, and impressively so: The testing organisation's latest certification report, for May-June 2019, has given Microsoft's package its Top Product certification.
According to AV-Test's benchmarking, Windows Defender 4.18 running on an up-to-date Windows 10 Professional installation succeeded in blocking 100 percent of its 307-sample zero-day malware corpus and 100 percent of its 2,428-sample general test corpus - both comfortably above the industry averages of 97.1 and 99.8 percent respectively. The software also scored well on performance impact, generally doing better or equalling the industry average aside from a slight dip in software installation times on a mid-range PC, while avoiding all false positives.
Windows Defenders' showing in the testing gives it a full six points across all three categories, putting the software in joint first place along with F-Secure Safe 17, Kaspersky Internet Security 19, and Norton Security 22.17. Unlike those alternatives, however, Windows Defender comes as standard with Windows 10 - something which has put Microsoft at loggerheads with Kaspersky founder Eugene Kaspersky in the past.
February 24 2020 | 12:00