Believe it or not, but the recently introduced, free security solution from Microsoft manages to hold its own against fully-fledged, paid security suites from heavyweight players on the security market, at least when it comes down to generic detection and heuristic techniques. In fact, Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0, formerly codenamed Morro, fared better than the products from security companies that were fast to downplay the relevance of a free basic solution from the Redmond company. According to AV-Comparatives, Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 outperformed no less than 10 rival products for heuristics detection.
AV-Comparatives compared a total of 16 products from various security companies, including AVIRA AntiVir Premium 22.214.171.1246, G DATA Antivirus 126.96.36.199, Kaspersky AntiVirus 188.8.131.523, ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4.0.437.0, F-Secure Antivirus 10.00.246, Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 beta, Avast Professional Edition 4.8.1348, BitDefender Antivirus 184.108.40.206, eScan AntiVirus 10.0.997.491, AVG Antivirus 8.5.406, Trustport Antivirus 220.127.116.1117, McAfee VirusScan Plus 13.11.102, Symantec Norton Antivirus 18.104.22.168, Sophos Antivirus 7.6.10, Norman Antivirus & AntiSpyware 7.10.02, and Kingsoft Antivirus 2009.08.05.16.
“The products used the same updates and signatures they had the 10th August, and the same highest detection settings were used. This test shows the proactive detection capabilities that the products had at that time. We used new malware appeared between the 11th and 17th of August 2009,” AV-Comparatives noted.
Obviously, Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 was still in beta in the first half of August 2009. Microsoft only released its free security solution for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP, at the end of September, for customers running genuine copies of Windows.
With a detection rate of 56%, Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 managed to grab the fifth position, along with F-Secure, which delivered a similar performance. Only five products bested MSE, namely ESET NOD32 with a detection rate of 60%, Kaspersky with 64%, G Data with 66%, and Avira with 74%. However, at the same time, Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 also delivered a very low number of false positives.
MSE mistook no more than 15 legitimate code samples for malware, while not the same can be said of Avira, Sophos, McAfee, TrustPort, Norman, and Kingsoft, which all had in excess of 15 false positives. This is why MSE received the highest possible certification from AV-Comparatives, along with additional security solutions that balanced a high detection rate with a low number of false positives.
Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 can be downloaded for free via this link.