Windows 8.1 virus protection for business, consumer compared

Windows 8.1 virus protection for business, consumer compared

Summary: AV-Test tested 34 antivirus/endpoint protection products on Windows 8.1, comparing their performance from March to April.

TOPICS: Security, Windows 8

The reports of antivirus's death may have been greatly exaggerated. The right way to look at it is that antivirus is not, and may never have been, a sufficient means by which to protect the user against attack. But, for most users, it's still an important front-line defense.

The leading edge of the market for that defense is now on Windows 8.1, the operating system on which most new PCs, including ones that look like tablets, will run.

Independent test lab AV-TEST Institute's evaluation of these products, 25 of them for consumers and nine for business, show that most of them are very effective at blocking malware, known (20,646 samples) and unknown (138 samples). The number of products that detect 100% of such threats in their tests went up from March to April.

Business users should expect a very high level of malware detection from endpoint protection products for Windows 8.1. Chart provided by AV-TEST Institute.

It's hard to know how much of a fuss to make over the business products, since businesses are still largely avoiding Windows 8.x, but it shouldn't be because of the quality of AV protection. Six of the nine products (Bitdefender Endpoint Security 5.3, G Data Security Client 13.0, Kaspersky Lab Endpoint Security 10.2, Symantec Endpoint Protection 12.1, McAfee VirusScan Enterprise with EPO 8.8 and F-Secure Client Security 11.50) blocked 100 percent of threats in both March and April. A seventh, Trend Micro Office Scan 10.6, found 99 percent of unknown malware in March, but 100 percent in April.

The clear majority of consumer anti-malware products detected 100 percent, or very close to it, of unknown malware. Only three of the 25 (Tencent PC Manager 8.5, Microsoft Windows Defender 4.3 & 4.4, and AhnLab V3 Internet Security 8.0) detected less than 94 percent of unknown malware. New to the consumer tests this month is Check Point ZoneAlarm Extreme Security version 13.0.

Consumer products also have gotten very good, with 16 of 25 detecting 100% of unknown ("zero day") malware in April tests. Chart provided by AV-TEST Institute.

Detection rate (AV-TEST uses the term "Protection") isn't everything, especially when so many products detect so much, so AV-TEST also tests for the impact of the product on system performance (what they confusingly call "Performance") and false positives (what they confusingly call "Usability").

Of the nine business products, only Bitdefender Endpoint Security 5.3 got a top score on Performance. There were a smattering of false positive detections and warnings among the products, but so few that AV-TEST gave all nine top scores for Usability. The highest overall score, a perfect 18.0, went to the Bitdefender product.

Of the consumer products — Kaspersky Lab Internet Security 2014, Qihoo 360 Internet Security 4.2, Kingsoft Antivirus 2013, and Tencent PC Manager 8.5 — got perfect Performance scores. Some, especially Panda Security Cloud Antivirus FREE 2.3, ThreatTrack VIPRE Internet Security 2014, and PCKeeper Antivirus Pro 1.0, did quite poorly in this test. On usability the consumer products weren't quite as perfect as the business ones, but they were close. Top scores were given to 20 of the 25 products.

On the consumer tests, the top overall score was given to Kaspersky, followed closely by Qihoo, Avira, Bitdefender, and McAfee.

Topics: Security, Windows 8

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  • Microsoft Defender Not That Bad

    Microsoft has stopped many things at the operating system level. There is no need to stop them at the protection level. The score does not represent how secure the operating system is. It shows how at the protection level most software spends time filtering out a lot of unnecessary things.
    • That could be true.

      But with Windows you never know.

      At the very least, the added protection the others give would protect other Windows systems even if if the specific host doesn't need that level.
    • Very true

      To add to what you said, run much more detailed benchmarks for AV programs including the baseline of Windows. Here's a monthly report on real-world detection tests for April 2014.
      This displays Windows 8 baseline protection from their view at 88.4%

      The site has plenty details about the OS and other AVs in other scenarios.
    • Good point but...

      They're all running on the same Windows 8.1 baseline and still offer better overall protection.

      In other words they're doing a better job despite of the work Microsoft are putting in.
  • Charts

    Now we need two more charts with these same AV Products.
    This time the percentages should show System Resource use/drain.
  • Thoughts

    Performance, which they confusingly call performance? /scratchhead

    Anyhoo - it's kinda too bad Microsoft's solution isn't doing too well. Still far better than nothing at all, and great that it's a standard part of a Windows install, but maybe they should try to keep up with competition a bit better.

    Anyhoo - I'm using something that's not really on the charts - Webroot's SecureAnywhere. It's like Microsoft's Defender in that it's very minimal on system performance. However, I think it would likely score better if it were on the charts.
  • Microsoft says

    Microsoft says their Defender is a BASELINE defence program .. and that they SHARE their research with other AV vendors so that these other vendors can build enhanced and more comprehensive products. It's a sort of knowledge-share-ware for the other computer programming companies.

    So the intent of Defender is to make sure there's a start off place to making the Windows eco-system better for the customers.
    Singularity Point
    • Of course it would be BETTER

      if they would actually fix the bugs it papers over...
      • Reply to "Of course it would be BETTER"

        Yeah LOL :o)

        However, when it comes to utilities, sometimes Microsoft deliberately doesn't provide everything out-of-the-box and leaves room for after-market, e.g. defragmentation utilities. Windows comes with robust but stripped down defragmenter. If someone wants real time file specific defragmentation, they'd have to go for an after-market program.

        Similarly, Microsoft Widows comes with firewall software. But there are after-market packages that are more granular; those interest in that buy them.

        And, of course, anti-malware. Microsoft provides a baseline package, shares its research with third parties, and leaves room for the third party after-market to fill should someone want enhanced security.
        Singularity Point
        • Just like I said...

          papering over the bugs, but not fixing them.
          • It's called sharing the wealth

            The entire Windows / PC ecosystem has always been about 3rd parties making money. Whether it be hardware or software.
          • so you are saying Microsoft puts in the bugs deliberately?

            And won't fix them either?

            That has got to be the silliest justification for an antivirus ever.
          • Bingo!

            If it were intentional, I believe it would fit under "racketeering." If MS were committing racketeering, it wouldn't be in that space. They'd pick something much more profitable.
            Jacob VanWagoner
          • And if it worked?

            Can you imagine Defender getting the best scores? The lawsuits about including Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player as part of the Windows package would probably be mild complaints in comparison.
            Matjaž Miler
          • All they have to do is fix the bugs.

            That alone would improve its scores.
          • It's called

            avoiding anti-trust lawsuits.
            Jacob VanWagoner
          • Fixing bugs will not get an anti-trust lawsuit.

            Illegal activity gets an anti-trust lawsuit.

            If fixing bugs was illegal there would be no monthly bug fixes...
      • Old version.

        What I would like to know is why these testers always use the previous version of MSE. Version is out for 2.5 months already (in Win7, a bit less in Win8.x).
  • Everyone should know

    that the best defense isn't a software doohickey, it's avoiding being an idiot.

    The biggest security threats aren't from malware bypassing security, it's from people being tricked into giving the malware access past the security.
    Jacob VanWagoner
    • Exactly,

      I call them happy clickers, they click ok on anything that pops up.