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Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:14 pm
by Jerilynn
Microsoft bombs another security test
AV-Test.org's latest security-suite efficacy test fails Microsoft Security Essentials -- for the second time in a row. This time, though, it's not alone.


Thoughts?

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-575643 ... rity-test/

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:19 pm
by Nummerkins
I still recommend it. MS will improve it. It get's people 80% there, as opposed to using nothing or expired trials. Also, other AV software from the big vendors have their own issues -- system killing performance, never-ending nagging and terrible uninstall procedures that don't always work correctly.

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:35 pm
by JerLon
Having used a variety of AV suites over the years, I'd say that Security Essentials is near the top of the pack overall.

I have yet to get a virus using Security Essentials on two machines for three years. Security Essentials mixed with adblock extensions in Chrome/Firefox/IE and smart browsing/emailing habits will take care of 99.999% of the problems. The rest? No AV program will stop them.

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:58 pm
by MathWizard
For the normal user at home, our security expert still recommends MS Security essentials.
We use firewalls and McAfee at work.

The usual, keep software up to date etc.

He has shown how all the products miss some security exploits, so there is little hope of
stopping everything.

The other usual:
Turn off file-sharing,
Limit where you browse,
browse using a read-only source, e.g. DVD or an OS in a flash drive with a write protect
(You can make this with an SD card with a write protect switch, and an SD card to USB converter)

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:08 pm
by tadamsmar
If you check web sites like this:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/

You will see how crazy things are out there.

The NYT implies that malware persisted for months without detection by Symantec and Symantec implies that anti-virus software is not enough to prevent this from happening:

http://www.zdnet.com/symantec-denies-bl ... 000010630/

I don't quite understand why Symantec is saying that. Do new forms of malware persist for months without being detectable by even the best anti-virus programs? I knew there was a zero-day problem where they can't upgrade to catch all new stuff. But months without protection?

If this is true then MS Security Essentials and all other anti-virus programs = Bad. It's just a matter of how bad, I guess.

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:33 pm
by justanotherguy
tadamsmar wrote:If you check web sites like this:

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/security/

You will see how crazy things are out there.

The NYT implies that malware persisted for months without detection by Symantec and Symantec implies that anti-virus software is not enough to prevent this from happening:

http://www.zdnet.com/symantec-denies-bl ... 000010630/

I don't quite understand why Symantec is saying that. Do new forms of malware persist for months without being detectable by even the best anti-virus programs? I knew there was a zero-day problem where they can't upgrade to catch all new stuff. But months without protection?

If this is true then MS Security Essentials and all other anti-virus programs = Bad. It's just a matter of how bad, I guess.
I completely understand your sentiment and you're largely right, but there are additional perspectives. As with any number of things, resources play a huge issue. It is far easier for antivirus companies to compete against smaller organizations than well-trained, well-funded nation-states. Also, every piece of software that touches the Internet (your operating system, browser, browser plugins, tablet and phone apps, etc) has vulnerabilities. To make things more difficult for antivirus companies, most of the source code to the most common software is not available to them. As a result, malware developers need only find one zero day to be successful. AV companies must find all, which will likely never happen.

All of this to say yes, antivirus companies miss things. However, by and large they do very well with the extraordinarily difficult task they have taken on. MSE and Symantec are two of the best and well serve you well. Just try not to attract the unwanted attention of state actors :-)

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:28 pm
by astrohip
JerLon wrote:Having used a variety of AV suites over the years, I'd say that Security Essentials is near the top of the pack overall.

I have yet to get a virus using Security Essentials on two machines for three years. Security Essentials mixed with adblock extensions in Chrome/Firefox/IE and smart browsing/emailing habits will take care of 99.999% of the problems. The rest? No AV program will stop them.
Quote for truth. Word for word.

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:46 pm
by stratton
You need to keep the AV signature files up to date or you're going to have issues.

Including the one yesterday I've had three for MSE since the beginning of the year. This isn't problem because they are relatively small in the 300 to 400K size and upgrade doesn't require rebooting or logging out/in again.

Paul

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:55 pm
by VictoriaF
stratton wrote:You need to keep the AV signature files up to date or you're going to have issues.

Including the one yesterday I've had three for MSE since the beginning of the year. This isn't problem because they are relatively small in the 300 to 400K size and upgrade doesn't require rebooting or logging out/in again.

Paul
Are you forcing AV MSE signature updates? My MSE works on the background and always seems to be up to date.

Victoria

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:59 pm
by ElJay
I like Security Essentials. It stays out of my face. I had been using Avast but after version 4 the program became way too distracting and too often was begging for my attention for no good reason. I want something to just work in the background, and that's what MSE does.

It's even built-in to Windows 8, though some options have been hidden and it has been somewhat confusingly renamed "Windows Defender." Windows Defender of course is also the name of the Microsoft's anti-spyware product which originally came bundled with Vista and 7, and it was also made available for XP.

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:03 pm
by nisiprius
I worked at a company once that got completely infested with a virus. They took SQA off of their job and ordered everyone to bring in every diskette they had at home as well as at work, for scanning.

Here's the point. It was an old boot sector virus, that had been around for at least five years, and any antivirus program would have stopped it. I don't know what the real statistics are, but at any give point in time most of the viruses actually circulating in the wild are old ones. So the actual effectiveness of an antivirus program depends mostly on whether or not you use one, not whether it can handle the latest and greatest.

Here's why I like Microsoft Security Essentials: it's unobtrusive and just does one job. All the commercial stuff, in order to look like it's worth the money, is loaded to the gills with questionable stuff that runs in the background and consumes disk and CPU and intercepts all your Internet communications... and has little tendrils embedded deep in your system.

Another reason I like Microsoft Security Essentials is that as far as I know it has never made a machine unbootable, whereas on at least TWO occasions for AVG, they released updates that falsely identified legitimate Windows system files as viruses and rendered thousands of peoples systems unbootable:

http://news.softpedia.com/news/AVG-Faul ... 7766.shtml

http://www.dailytech.com/AVG+Update+Cri ... e20310.htm

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:50 pm
by Jerilynn
VictoriaF wrote:
stratton wrote:You need to keep the AV signature files up to date or you're going to have issues.

Including the one yesterday I've had three for MSE since the beginning of the year. This isn't problem because they are relatively small in the 300 to 400K size and upgrade doesn't require rebooting or logging out/in again.

Paul
Are you forcing AV MSE signature updates? My MSE works on the background and always seems to be up to date.

Victoria
Same here.

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:04 pm
by HueyLD
...............

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:22 pm
by dad2000
The level of protection that it offers is average at best, but no single solution is perfect. I'd recommend pairing it up with something like a nightly scan by Malwarebytes. That will significantly close the gap without affecting performance.

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 8:41 pm
by Toons
I don't lose any sleep using MSE :happy

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:50 pm
by jchef
The primary reason that Microsoft failed the past two tests is that its zero-day protection hasn't been as good as the other anti-virus vendors. For those who aren't familiar with the terminology, a zero-day threat is a virus or a piece of malware that was previously unknown. Today is the first day the malware has been seen.


Most zero-day threats are not widely propagated. The chance of running into a not widely propaged zero-day threat is extremely low for the average user. Occasionally some zero-day threats propagate extremely quickly. And anti-virus software vendors tend to very quickly update their software to protect against these widely propagated threats.

So while it's not good that MSE zero-day protection isn't as good as other software, as long as they are protecting against the widely propagated zero-day threats, the actual danger to most users is quite low.

As well, this has been an embarrassment to MIcrosoft and I expect they have started throwing more bodies at MSE and specifically the group that handles zero-day threats. So I don't see much to worry about here.

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:09 am
by MikeRes
HueyLD wrote:I had previously used Norton and McAfee, and they were both resource hogs. Fortunately a kind hearted soul on this forum recommended MSE to me and it has been relatively easy on resources.
I too have used both Norton and McAfee but stopped many years ago when they started gobbling up the system.
However, as of two/three years ago Norton has made significant improvements and is no longer a resource hog.
It's probably worth a second look at this point.

For what it's worth, I currently use MSE (can't beat the price), coupled with Malewarebytes Anti-Maleware and also with SUPERAntiSpyware.
All connections are wired and go through a router.
So far no infections.

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 7:29 am
by scrabbler1
Besides MSE, which I have set to run weekly at a time the system is not in Sleep mode and when I am away, I run Malwarebytes (free edition) and Spybot S&D (also free) every so often. MSE has saved my PC a few times from picking up pests in the year I have owned this PC which has Windows 7.

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:41 am
by Tom_T
dad2000 wrote:The level of protection that it offers is average at best, but no single solution is perfect. I'd recommend pairing it up with something like a nightly scan by Malwarebytes. That will significantly close the gap without affecting performance.
Agreed.

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:49 am
by Toons
Tom_T wrote:
dad2000 wrote:The level of protection that it offers is average at best, but no single solution is perfect. I'd recommend pairing it up with something like a nightly scan by Malwarebytes. That will significantly close the gap without affecting performance.
Agreed.
+2 :happy

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:34 pm
by NateW
JerLon wrote:Having used a variety of AV suites over the years, I'd say that Security Essentials is near the top of the pack overall.

I have yet to get a virus using Security Essentials on two machines for three years. Security Essentials mixed with adblock extensions in Chrome/Firefox/IE and smart browsing/emailing habits will take care of 99.999% of the problems. The rest? No AV program will stop them.
I just did. I use MS Security Essentials, but I do not blame Security Essentials for getting the virus. I was careless. No AV program fixes careless. I was visiting a web site to download a free CD ripper (Exact Audio Copy), a legitimate software, but positioned to be clicked on was prominent "Download Here" dayglow green button and after I clicked I noticed it was an advertisement (tiney letters said "Ads by Google") and the real download button was microscopic in comparison. So I basically bypassed MS Security Essentials and invited the stealth virus to a new home on my hard drive. Right after that I noticed I could not access intended web sites and MS Security Essentials stopped running and could not be started. Tried "safe mode". Still no joy. Restoring the computer to an earlier state allowed me to scan with Security Essentials, but it found nothing.

But I learned a lot through the virus removal. One was that certain viruses can not be stopped and/or detected by anti-virus programs. I learned how to use Malware Bytes, RealKill and several other freeware programs that found several other trojan viruses on my computer that MS Security Essentials did not find. I even got rid of all the adware that the AV programs do not eliminate.

Take a look here:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/

All kinds of great stuff for how to manage your computer system, not just viruses.

P.S., I looked at the AV-Test.org site referred in the opening post and I did not see Norton listed. I even searched their site for "Norton" and nothing was found. How does Norton AV rate and why is it not listed?

--Nate

Re: Microsoft Sec Essentials = Bad ??

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:05 pm
by jchef
NateW wrote: P.S., I looked at the AV-Test.org site referred in the opening post and I did not see Norton listed. I even searched their site for "Norton" and nothing was found. How does Norton AV rate and why is it not listed?
It's there. It's listed as "Symantec: Norton". Norton was bought by Symantec many years ago.

http://www.av-test.org/en/tests/home-us ... vdec-2012/