Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sensationalist Press Got it WRONG! Microsoft Does Not Recommend Two Antivirus Programs!

A recent article published by PC Pro has taken wings and is being quoted in numerous stories implying that a second antivirus program is needed when using Microsoft Security Essentials.  The article states,
"Now, Microsoft has said it sees Security Essentials as merely the first layer of protection, advising customers to use additional, third-party antivirus - although the company stressed that wasn't because the product wasn't good enough to stand on its own." (bold added)

The above statement by PC Pro is an obvious misinterpretation of Holly Stewart's comment (bold added), 
"It’s not as efficient to have one kind of weapon," she said. "Like anything you must have that diversity. It’s a weakness to just have one."

Why PC Pro is Wrong

Starting with the obvious, Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows 7, or earlier and Windows Defender on Windows 8 are disabled when a third-party antivirus software is installed.  Thus, an active second antivirus program cannot be run along side Microsoft Security Essentials or Windows Defender.

As clearly stated in this Microsoft Malware Protection Center help topic,
"It’s not a good idea to run other antivirus or antispyware products at the same time as Microsoft Security Essentials or Windows Defender.

Using more than one real-time security product can affect your PC performance. You might also get an error code when you try to update or install, such as 0x80070643."

The use of the word "weapon" by Holly Stewart in the above quote does not mean a second antivirus software, rather, as has long been recommended by the security community, a layered approach of another weapon is needed.

In addition to one up-to-date antivirus software, it is also critical to maintain updated third-party applications such as Adobe products and Oracle Java and install Microsoft security updates.

Along with "safe surfing", having one or two secondary security applications, such as my favorite Malwarebytes Antimalware and WinPatrol to supplement the work of your antivirus software program is generally recommended.

Microsoft Strategy Works!  

As illustrated in the Microsoft Malware Protection Center report, Evaluating our protection performance and capabilities, 99.9% of computers using Microsoft real-time protection reported no infections on the average day of August, 2013.  With results like that, it is clear that the change in focus by Microsoft to prevalent threats is obviously working.

Thus, PC Pro, Microsoft Security Essentials is not designed to be at the bottom of the antivirus rankings.  It is designed to target prevalent threats to consumer's computers, as illustrated in the change log for 1.159.819.0, released today.

Update:  Microsoft published a response to the "misinterpretation" by PC Pro and the other authors who added to it.  The Microsoft article is referenced below as is an article by Leo Notenboom, who contacted Holly Stewart.  

Remember - "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart...


Anonymous said...

You should have come down still harder on that gal. An extremely inaccurate representation on her part.

Furthermore, only if one switches off MSE (Win 7) or Windows Defender ( Win 8/8.1) is another anti-malware program needed (in case, anyone came to the wrong conclusion).

I very much enjoy and appreciate your excellent and unequaled work.

joe53 said...

Articles like this are a major reason I have never relied on the PC magazine industry for thoughtful analysis of AVs. I note that a link to the full interview with Holly Stewart is not included in the PC Pro article, to let readers judge for themselves what actually was said. But the popular press never did let the truth stand in the way of a good story with spin.

MSE by itself has indeed not scored well in lab tests against various other AVs and paid security suites at various independent test sites. A careful reading of the methodology used in these tests reveals that there is no mention of the testbeds using supplemental layers of security such as MBAM or WinPatrol. I think MS is to be congratulated for its candid admission that MSE is only the baseline on which to build a layered security solution. Too many folks think all they need for protection is an AV.

The commercial security industry has a vested interest in discrediting free products like MSE. And there is no better vehicle to achieve this than the magazines that depend on the commercial ads for the paid products.

Sorry for the rant - and thanks for the post!

Peter Griffioen said...

Corrine, why am I getting a request to download a file from this post?


I just hit the 'CANCEL'.

I did take a screen shot but unable to post it.

Please advise.

Regards, Peter.

Corrine said...

Thank you Anonymous and Joe for your comments.

Peter, I don't know why you received the analytics request from SiteMeter but will see if I get the same when posting this reply. There is a "prove you're not a robot" by Blogger that I've never had to use before. I don't know if that is related.

Corrine said...

A ticket was submitted to SiteMeter regarding the "Do you want to open or save analytics.js from" message.

Searching for that messages yields results showing many others seeing the same thing starting 26Sep2013.

Peter Griffioen said...

Corrine, it is a Google tracker of some sort. Just been released and causing all sorts of havoc all over the world.

Peter said...

Corrine, bug 'analytics.js' has been fixed by Sitemeter.

regards, Peter.

Corrine said...

Thank you, Peter. I never received a reply to the ticket I submitted.