An investigation into Windows Defender, looking at why it has grown to be a great choice for anti-virus protection compared to paid options offered by other companies. Uses historical data obtained by AV Comparatives.
Episode #8-25 released on February 11, 2018
My third episode was about antiviruses and was specifically aimed at using a better antivirus than the Microsoft available Security Essentials, which according to AV-Comparatives was 92.5% effective back in July 2013. This meant that back then Bitdefender and Kaspersky were the better choices for users, all around, blocking 99.9% of the viruses in the test.
Now, fast forward to December 2017, and Panda, holds that position, as having 100% protection in the same type of test, however, Windows Defender, a free option built into Windows already, has risen to a protection rate of 99.5%. You only get a 0.5% boost in protection from a paid software option.
Now, there are other factors that make Microsoft Defender a good choice for antiviral software. The fact it is built into an operating system designed by Microsoft means it has better access to the operating system. It has features that other antivirus companies don't, like Controlled Folder Access, which protects folders from Cryptographic Viruses when enabled by the user. It is guaranteed to be compatible with updates, unlike other antivirus companies who poke and prod their way into operating systems, in ways that the operating system developer Microsoft does not want or authorize in any way. Which means other vendors are sometimes responsible for some of the issues related to Windows Crashing.
Let's talk about bloatware, too. The amount of bloatware attached to commercial antivirus solutions seriously slows down some computers. A lot of the features are, also, redundant, or overpriced, too. Take Mcafee for example. As part of the total package, you can store usernames and passwords. Use a product like LastPass, you get better security, and it is free for normal users. They make a claim at removing 100% viruses from your computer, but only score 98.9% in tests done by AV Comparatives. Oh, and just so we remember, Microsoft Defender, is free, and scored 99.5%.
Now, let's talk about SmartScreen, which runs in Windows 8, and 10, and is part of Windows Defender. It helps scan, and block malicious viruses from accessing your computer, blocking them from running, and in same cases, is even responsible for detecting, retransmitting code back to Microsoft, and have the virus definition table updated for all other users. It scans virtually everything, including Windows Store Apps, web-sites in all browsers, other applications and files, and more.
Windows Defender, also, comes with built-in exploit protection. This is, also, adjustable. But, this means that when there is a known issue, Microsoft can respond quickly and adjust Windows to respond differently to a multitude of threat models. And, being a Microsoft, this means that these settings are bound to be better adjusted than those of other companies.
Does Microsoft Defender still suck?
Microsoft has apparently learned a lot from Microsoft Security Essentials. With Smart Screen, Exploit Protection, direction access to system settings like your firewall, device drivers, etc. controlled folder access, and more, we can definitely say that they don't suck anymore. Dollar for Dollar, you get a better deal for a free, fast updating antivirus solution that does not unnecessarily load your computer with trash, redundant, or useless features. Not to mention you aren't lulled into a false sense of security with false impressions given by competitors. Forget 100% cash back guarantees, spend those extra dollars on yourself, instead.
Host : Steve Smith | Music : | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Dot Net