Data collected by security experts at AV-TEST over the last six months indicate that Microsoft’s Windows Defender, pre-installed on Windows 8 and offered as an optional download on Windows 7, is one of the least effective security products on the market.
The security firm based in Germany performed three different tests on 28 security products currently on the market in an attempt to determine which one provides the best security for a Windows machine.
The first test was exposing each security app to zero-day malware, thus trying to find out whether they are capable of blocking the threats or not. Bitdefender, F-Secure, and Kaspersky topped the charts, while Symantec, Trend Micro, and Avast came next, with ratings between 97 and 100 points.
Windows Defender, on the other hand, achieved a score of only 79 points for zero-day protection and 97 percent for the way it isolated the found threats.
The second tests was specifically performed to determine how easily the security apps detect and remove 60,000 forms of malware, with real-time monitoring again playing an essential role.
The third test, on the other hand, looks at features such as system requirements and usability, as users need an application that doesn’t hamper system performance and offers real-time protection without too much user input.
Bitdefender and Kaspersky again achieved high scores, but Windows Defender was rewarded with the maximum 6 points for usability. However, it received only 1 point for protection.
“In the overall results table, Bitdefender, Kaspersky Lab and Symantec lead the field while the protection packages from Avast, F-Secure and GData share fourth place,” AV-TEST explained.
“The test results of these seven products alone are all nearly 5 points higher than the overall result obtained by Microsoft's Windows Defender or Security Essentials when used together with the Windows Firewall. This proves that the use of external security solutions can lead to a massive improvement when it comes to system protection.”
The last time AV-TEST published results criticizing its products, Microsoft reacted pretty fast to contest the testing procedure, so expect an official comment on this anytime soon.