December 5, 2022
A recent study of anti-malware software efficacy conducted by AV-Comparatives reveals that while Microsoft Defender continues to perform well, it has slightly lost its edge.

Antivirus software has been promoted from “nice to have around” to an absolute necessity in these cybercrime-filled days of ours. With phishing attacks, brute force hacking, and all other mannerisms of methods that online anonymous criminals are exploiting to expose an individual’s safety and comfort, having walls up all the time seems like a necessity. Honestly, it’s why having in-built software such as the Microsoft Defender for Windows is so nice; a one-in-all system that’s free (I mean, you do have to buy the device), offers coverage for both viruses and cybercrime, and is good at its job. However, all systems require recurrent reappraisals to make sure that they aren’t slacking off on the job. With cybercrime being an ever-evolving art, software needs to keep evolving as well.

That’s where firms such as AV-Comparatives come in, as they conduct surveys and test runs across a grand multitude of anti-malware and anti-virus software, publishing the reports either privately for hired work, or online for everyone to see. Work like this also provides unbiased opinions on software that can’t be gleaned if the developers themselves did the studies. I know that Facebook performs well as a platform, but there’s only so much trust that I’m going to lend to numbers being published by its employees.

According to the published results, Microsoft Defender has a rather low number of situations in which the protected device ended up being compromised, and is also rather low in the false positive reports department. The latter essentially refers to incidents where the anti-malware software flags threats that aren’t threats, such as legally downloaded content being caught unawares. Microsoft had an incident this year where updates from its Office software ended up being flagged by Defender; such instances end up happening when devs develop their anti-software to be too stringent, and often in the wrong direction. As soon as this issue was fixed, Defender’s false positives increased in number, and while it is a minimal change, nothing is better than zero.

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Other than Defender, Avast, AVG, and Avira ended up being labeled as highlights in the study, with each of the three showing perfect anti-malware track records. Makes sense too, since all three of these platforms are developed by companies that have exclusively cyber-security-oriented teams at hand.

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