In the current online world that we live in, it is impossible to survive more than a few days (sometimes hours) without getting your computer infected. This is why it is critical to install antivirus software that features proactive security against malware threats. Windows users can benefit from the security provided by Microsoft Security Essentials, free antivirus software provided by Microsoft for licensed windows users. But, is the software provided by
Microsoft enough to secure your computer?
How antivirus software works
The antivirus is able to protect a computer by stopping malware. The software is able to read the digital definitions of malware. The scanner searches for known virus definitions inside each file. Once there is a match, the file is either repaired (the malicious code removed), moves to quarantine (a secure location where the file is sandboxed, being unable to affect the system anymore) or deletes the infected file if everything else fails.
Modern antiviruses have the ability to the behavioral scans or heuristic scans, which can detect a malware attack even if its digital definition is not listed in the virus definitions database. In other words, the antivirus watches the behavior of executable files, and if it resembles to the one of a malware attack, it blocks the process.
Independent tests on Microsoft Security Essentials
AV-Comparatives is one of the most known independent antivirus testing companies around the world. The editors of the website are testing almost 30 antivirus software to verify their performance on certain areas like: protection against 0-day attacks, scan speed, usage of resources, usability, and real world-tests. The real world test is the most important one, as it simulates an average computer that most people own, and the antivirus is stressed into regular usage conditions (internet surfing, accessing malware websites, .dll injection attempts, PUP software, and so on).
For several months until now, Microsoft Security Essentials scored impressive results in all the tests, maintain a decent position around the top free antivirus solutions around the world. Also, MSE is one of the most used antiviruses.
How other free antiviruses acted in Independent tests
As said above, Microsoft Security Essentials managed to occupy a decent position in the above half of the top best free antivirus solutions. However, there were a few other antivirus solutions that managed to get above MSE. For example, Avast! Free Antivirus managed to obtain a better score in the real-world test conducted by AV-Comparatives, while Avira Free obtained the best result in detecting the infected samples (over 99.8%), last month.
Also, the majority of IT forum users were agree on the fact that Avast! Free Antivirus is using a better interface which is more intuitive and easier to use that Microsoft product’s one. Furthermore, Avast also obtained the highest certification on October 2012, for the fastest scanning engine available at the moment.
Why users could still choose Microsoft Security Essentials?
Even though other antiviruses scored a little bit higher in independent tests, Microsoft Security Essentials is still the software to provide the best compatibility with the Windows operating system, thing that isn’t going to ever change. Furthermore, being very easy to use, MSE is always suitable for below-average internet users who do not possess the knowledge of installing and configuring antivirus software on their own.