#1 By: Chris Hoffman, October 4th, 2013 06:41
Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/173291/goodbye-microsoft-security-essentials-microsoft-now-recommends-you-use-a-third-party-antivirus/
Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows Defender on Windows 8) was once on top. Over the years, it’s slid in the test results, but Microsoft argued the tests weren’t meaningful. Now, Microsoft is advising Windows users to use a third-party antivirus instead.
#2 By: Naman Sood, October 4th, 2013 07:11
We’d like to apologize for continuing to recommend Microsoft Security Essentials for so long, in spite of test results.
Switched to avast! and put it in Gaming Mode. Never troubled me since. Other than the occasional internet slowdown because it's downloading the definitions itself, unlike MSE/WD.
#3 By: Chad Dunbar, October 4th, 2013 07:30
Here's my question - does this new strategy of theirs also apply to System Center Endpoint, their enterprise level AV?
#4 By: Ted Lilley, October 4th, 2013 07:44
For a good while I watched MSE go down in the rankings and tried to find alternatives that still had the light feel, without nags.
I was pleased to find that sweet spot of set-it-and-forget-it protection combined with substantially above-average test results (across AV-test as well as AV-comparatives). Panda Cloud Antivirus has been great. Simple and you never know it's there.
Only things to watch out for are the security toolbar it wants to install and the default search. I opt out of both of those. The new 2.0 version has some document protection features I don't like as well, but they're opt-in.
After having installed and used all the popular solutions including Avast!, AVG, BitDefender, Avira et. al., I can recommend Panda as a clearly better experience.
#5 By: Naman Sood, October 4th, 2013 08:37
I might try that out as well. It worked well for me in the past (ah, the good old 2011 days when you could install XP and not be worried about getting outdated).
#6 By: theMike, October 4th, 2013 08:38
I'm back to using an arsenal on my windows 8 operating system.
I started using avast, spywareblaster, comodo firewall and malwarebytes. Luckily there's little lag with all running.
#7 By: Dan, October 4th, 2013 09:51
I'm pretty sure I fall into the category of "geek," so I'm going to keep using it. I don't download anything dangerous, aside from the occasional torrent. As @binaryphile mentioned, I will switch to Panda Cloud if anything goes awry with Defender. One question, though @binaryphile: How does Panda Cloud impact boot times in Windows? I have my boot down to about 20 seconds, and I don't really want it to be much slower!
#8 By: Kirk Clemons, October 4th, 2013 09:55
This is a bummer I've always had luck with MSE myself and installed it for family members, co-workers, and friends and never heard from them again for anything other than "What's that warning from Security Essentials mean?"
This to me meant that it was doing it's job. Now this means that it most likely is dumb luck and most of these users are just waiting to open the wrong door and let a new trojan roll right in. =S
Will HTG be publishing any findings on their opinion of a best overall solution? Is avast! enough for firewall, spyware, malware, and rootkits? or is it best to piece together a suite of software that specializes in each of these?
#9 By: Lady Fitzgerald, October 4th, 2013 10:05
I prefer using my own suite of software. I use free Avast for my AV but I also use the paid version of MBAM, free SAS, free Spybot S&D, and free ZoneAlarm firewall. The free version of MBAM is good but the paid version does automatic updates, has full time protection, and will play well with an AV. The license is lifetime and transferable so there is only the onetime expense to buy it (and it often goes on sale), making it a bargain.
I also use Secunia PSI to monitor my programs for needed updates. Not all programs will check for updates and, of those that do, I generally prefer that they don't phone home. Avast also monitors for program updates, and often reports faster than PSI, but it isn't as thorough as PSI.
If I could have only one security program on my computer (thank God I don't!), it would be Avast.
#10 By: Rizzoli, October 4th, 2013 10:12
Wow - this is a new low for Microsoft. Given their continuing struggle to maintain relevance, it seems something of an idiot move to admit a product is inadequate. Worse than that - they are essentially waving the white flag and - unless they announce this officially - are putting MSE users in a vulnerable position. I know what I'll be doing today....
#11 By: Ted Lilley, October 4th, 2013 10:12
Take a look for yourself, the test results are constantly being updated: AV Test, AV Comparatives (select Performance Test, year and month).
AV Comparatives puts performance impact just a shade worse than MSE, so it's about par.
I'm no expert on Panda beyond what the test results say, since there's not much to know. I just read the test results and over time they really seem to have kept within an epsilon of that sweet spot. That's why I recommend it to my friends, it's like MSE in a lot of ways, it just protects you better.
#12 By: Lady Fitzgerald, October 4th, 2013 10:27
The only reservation I have about depending an online AV is the site might have an outage, leaving one without any protection until the site goes back online.
#13 By: Straspey, October 4th, 2013 10:30
Here's my protection lineup:
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Pro
MBAM Pro provides both "File System" and "Malicious Website Blocking" protection in real time. Much better than WOT, the website feature will actually prevent your computer from connecting to any site which it rates as "malicious", and it informs you of the blockage, along with the IP address of the blocked site, in a little pop-up on the task bar. It has proven to be very effective on certain occasions and I have no doubt that feature has kept me out of hot water.
I've been a huge fan of WinPatrol for about ten years. The developer is a Microsoft MSVP - so he knows what he's doing. The program monitors your system in real time, and will warn you regarding any changes made to your system - including the addition, removal or replacement of .DLL files and registry entries.
SuperAntispyware Pro provides another layer of real-time protection and - like MBAM - updates its database automatically every day. The offers a number of additional tools and fixes for some common problems - such as changing of home page, loss of Start Menu, Task Manager, etc.
I run a daily quick scan with MSE and - along with those other programs - have yet to get myself into any serious trouble. While I'm not a real "geek" - I think I qualify under the heading of security.
#14 By: Ted Lilley, October 4th, 2013 10:39
In my book, having an Internet outage is the best antivirus protection available, next to unplugging your power supply or WiFi/Ethernet.
#15 By: Bob_Block, October 4th, 2013 10:41
What I do to be fair is:
1. Pay for Malwarebytes - a small price and I used their free version for years. Good to support such folks.
2. Use Avast on my wife's PC (free version)
3. I change suppliers of anti-virus from year to year after having used some free versions - Avira, Avast, and give them a year of paid use to give a bit of support. This year I am using Bitdefender (paid).
Not sure what I will do next year, maybe back to Avira or Avast.
#16 By: Ryan C, October 4th, 2013 11:05
This was my question, as well.
#17 By: Greg Sander, October 4th, 2013 11:06
Would does HTG and the rest of this forum community think of recommending MSE and MBAM Pro as a malware solution for friends and family?
#18 By: johnp80, October 4th, 2013 11:13
I think that your apology is premature.
Nowhere did Microsoft suggest that you use other tools. What they said is that they are sharing information with other companies.
What she did say was that the more people working actively on threats, the harder it was for the real bad guys to slip malware past whatever security suite you are using.
In my own personal experience helping friends and family with computer issues, MSE is still head and shoulders above the competition. This is for several reasons:
- It still runs circles around most of the competition.
- Low number of false positives compared to higher ranked software
- Silent, automatic updates.
When you are dealing with non-computer savvy people, something that just works is the best bet. False positives and constant pop ups are the enemy, because you condition people to having to click a button to get rid of whatever annoying popup some program is giving them now.
My personal feeling is that these tests are far from accurate representations of real world performance.
Since these are just my personal experiences on the matter, gleaned from having to clean viruses off of Avast, Norton, McAfee, Avira, etc "protected" computers, and routinely scanning my MSE/WD protected computers with other programs to verify that MS is in fact, doing their jobs correctly.
#19 By: Stickman803, October 4th, 2013 11:16
Here's what I've found works well:
Avast! Free Antivirus - Free, and you can tweak it not to show advertisements
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware PRO - ~$25, when on sale
Microsoft Security Essentials - Free
ZoneAlarm Free Firewall - Free, with the occasional advertisement
Windows Defender - Free, with Windows
After reading this article, I ran my own a Antivirus test using 12 different Antivirus programs, one at a time, in VirturalBox. I found that ESET works well out of the box, although it is paid, it detected and removed 10/10 test viruses, including ones in 7-Zip archives. Kasberskey Antivirus had the same results, with a little tweaking. Avast! Free Antivirus found 3/10 viruses out of the box, but I still use Avast! because when I optimized all of the settings, it found all of the test viruses, removed them instantly, and preformed faster than any of the others. I would say that, unlike other paid Antivirus software, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware PRO adds some very nice features over the free version, such as automatic updates, real-time protection, and a password lock. I'm not sure if I'm going to use Microsoft Security Essentials anymore, but it does clean up after Avast! nicely. ZoneAlarm I use just because I like seeing which programs do what, and it's not even that bothersome. I can't really get rid of Windows Defender, so I keep it. I use System Restore and create full System Images regularly using the built in Windows feature, so I hope Microsoft doesn't say that those only offer "basic protection" too. Another thing that helps is that I install all programs in a VirturalBox Machine and test them before I install anything on my host computer. I use Google Chrome because of it's great Malware protection, and OpenDNS because it blocks Malware sites on the DNS level. My Windows account is secured with a huge password, and KeyLemon's free facial recognition technology. All of this and I still get the occasional virus, but I can usually fix that with an Avast! boot-time scan, a Windows Defender Offline (for boot) scan, and a Windows Repair Disc. All of this is, surprisingly, free, minus Malwarebytes Anti-Malware PRO, and with a fast enough computer, I still have my 7-second boot time, and that's with Windows 7.
So, you could use all of this with Windows, or you could use Linux or Mac OSX and be done with it. For now, that is.
#20 By: Joe O Sullivan, October 4th, 2013 11:52
I think Holly Stewart needs to be fired!
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