It stinks that we have to use anti-virus software at all. But if we have to, at least the software can get out of the way and do its job without bugging us, right? And according to anti-virus testing firm AV-Test, Microsoft’s offering is one of the very best ways to do that. Windows Defender has pulled a three-category perfect score from AV-Test.
AV-Test is an independent organization that evaluates and rates security software. The Germany-based company has been around for well over a decade and tests just about every security suite out there. The firm tests each product across three categories: protection, performance, and usability. AV-Test tests each category on a six-point scale, and Microsoft Defender 4.18 received three sixes from the firm. The honor is currently only shared by Kaspersky’s Internet Security 19 and F-Secure’s SAFE17.
It’s worth noting that these tests are updated constantly, with Avast having been atop the heap at the beginning of this year, with Windows Defender’s scores falling just short.
How Windows Defender performed
The firm runs tests across two months before awarding a score to a suite, and then compares a suite’s performance to industry standards. The test pits the suites against things like 0-day malware attacks and new but prevalent malware to mark protection. To look at performance, AV-Test rates how it slows down launching popular websites and installing and using popular software. For usability, it focuses on false warnings and detection when visiting websites or installing legitimate software.
Microsoft has been improving its Defender suite since it debuted back in 2004, and it shows. Windows Defender scored 100% in protection, while affecting performance less than industry-average software by 1-6%. It also pulled zero false positives.
The good news is that if you don’t like Windows Defender regardless, there are a whole bunch of other suites that have received a 17.5 or 18 out of 18 from the firm. About half of the 20 tested suites are consider “top” products, with only MalwareBytes Premium 3.7.1 and Webroot SecurityAnywhere 9.0 dropping below 13 points. There’s a good chance that, whatever you have, that suite has you covered. Even so, it’s nice to know that Microsoft’s included suite is just as good as the best of the best.