*Windows Defender holding its own in latest AV Tests

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In earlier versions of Windows, anti-virus and malware protection wasn’t as high on the list of utilities that came as a part of Windows. In fact, it was almost like an afterthought so that Microsoft could claim they at least had something.

Then along came Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) for Windows 7 & 8. Testing showed this mini-suite wasn’t as effective as the wide range of other commercially offered products, but many casual computer users depended on this mini-suite as it performed adequately for their uses.

Today, a small number of Windows 7 & 8 users still depend on MSE, while most others have progressed to more effective security applications where they get more protection.

With the release of Windows 10, MSE was dropped and replaced by Windows Defender. While MSE was beginning to stand on its own, Microsoft chose to rebuild its security application completely, and it is surprising good.

Windows Defender in Windows 10 is not just the MSE of Windows 7. Rather, Windows Defender in Windows 10 comprises all the features of Microsoft Security Essentials and a few more. Windows Defender is designed to help protect your PC from viruses, malware, and other threats. While it might not offer all the features available in third-party antivirus software, it’s more than adequate for many home users.

But just how good is it?

Coming in just below midway in a roundup of 18 globally popular antivirus programs may not sound like much of an accomplishment, but for Microsoft, it’s a big step in the right direction.

AV-Test has released its latest round of antivirus evaluations, and while all the usual suspects earned top marks, the biggest surprise is that Microsoft’s built-in Windows security is quickly becoming a viable option.

AV-Test is a Madgeburg, Germany-based security firm that periodically tests AV software for a variety of platforms, including Windows, Mac OS, Android and Linux. The company’s May/June 2017 results for Windows 10 suggest that four programs out of 18 offer totally perfect protection, while the remaining 16 offer protection that ranges from passable to great.

AV-Test rated every program for Protection, Performance and Usability, with six points possible in each category.

At the top of the list were Trend Micro Internet Security, Symantec Norton Security, Kaspersky Lab Internet Security and Avira Antivirus Pro. Each one of the programs earned a perfect 18. This means that they not only provided near-perfect protection from both known and new malware, but they also had very little impact on a PC’s overall performance, and presented an efficient, user-friendly interface.

Microsoft Windows Defender Antivirus and ThreatTrack VIPRE Internet Security Pro fared pretty well, coming in at 15 points apiece. Neither had a perfect score in any category, but it’s worth noting that Microsoft’s Protection score lept several points. For a program that was bottom-of-the-barrel just last year — and comes free with Windows — that’s not bad at all.

Comodo Internet Security Premium occupied the lowest rung on the May/June 2017 ladder, scoring the lowest points. Although Comodo provided almost perfect protection, it proved to be a huge drag on system resources and only moderately intuitive to use, thus the lower the scores.

Despite not earning perfect scores, Bitdefender Internet Security, McAfee Internet Security also earned AV-Test’s coveted “Top Product” recommendations, with scores of 17.5 apiece. Avast Free Antivirus, AVG Internet Security, BullGuard Internet Security, ESET Internet Security, F-Secure Safe, and G Data InternetSecurity fell somewhere in the middle, with scores between 15.5 and 17.

Another takeaway from AV-Test’s latest results is that any of the 18 programs will do a more than an adequate job of protecting you and your computer.

Perhaps Windows Defender won’t protect you from every single threat that comes your way — but no single program can do that, regardless of how well it scores on an AV-Test evaluation.

Additionally, all the security products are re-evaluated periodically, and they regularly change rankings depending on multiple factors. The bottom line is to find a product that you are comfortable using and make sure its definitions are always up to date.

Be Safe – Backup Your Data Regularly!

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