Microsoft Security Essentials Fails AV-Test Again

For the second time in a row Microsoft’s free antivirus solution – Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) – has failed to earn certification from AV-Test, the independent German testing lab. The program failed the previous test back in November 2012.

This failure is especially significant when you consider the fact that MSE is reportedly the most popular security solution in the world:

Microsoft Security Essentials may not have done well in recent independent tests, but it’s now the global leader in security suite market share for the first time since it debuted in 2009, says Opswat’s latest study.
CNET, 11th December 2012


The AV-Test examines 3 key areas as part of their review –

  • protection
  • repairability
  • usability

Whilst Microsoft Security Essentials scored a respectable 5.5/6 on usability it didn’t fare so well with the other metrics picking up 3.0/6 for repairabilty and just 1.5/6 for protection. Of the 25 programs tested by AV-Test, MSE was one of only three that failed to achieve certification. The other two were from PC Tools and AhnLab.

Microsoft themselves questioned the test’s findings in some detail in a blog post –

We conduct a rigorous review of the results whenever test results warrant it. We take the protection of our customers very seriously, and the investments we make to do these reviews is an example of that commitment.

and vowed to improve in the future as well –

We continually evaluate and look at ways to improve our processes. We know from feedback from customers that industry testing is valuable, and their tests do help us improve. We’re committed to reducing our 0.0033 percent margin to zero.
Joe Blackbird, Program Manager, Microsoft Malware Protection Center

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


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