Windows Defender dramatically improves antivirus protection scores

Mark Coppock

As we’ve reported in the past, Microsoft’s built-in Windows Defender antivirus capabilities haven’t exactly shined when it comes to industry evaluations. Test by the AV-Test Institute in Magdeburg, Germany, have shown Windows Defender to be rather underwhelming compared to competitive antivirus offerings. Fortunately, things might be changing, as PC Mag reports.
In a recent AV-Test, which showed a number of antivirus providers performing worse than in past tests, Windows Defender was one of only two solutions with improved scores. Microsoft’s score improved dramatically, going from a 9.5 score (below the certification cutoff) to a more competitive 14 points. While nowhere near industry-leading at this point, the jump pushes Windows Defender into a much more respectable position.
PC Mag had this to say, however, for anyone considering a defection from a competitor. It’s a sentiment with which we agree completely:

Does this mean you can rely on Microsoft’s built-in protection and ditch your antivirus? That may be a bit premature. It did raise the protection score by 2.5 points, but even with that its protection score is just three of a possible six points. More than half of the products tested earned the full six points for protection.

Providing some additional comfort to those who decide to rely on Windows Defender, another lab, Dennis Technology Labs, gave Microsoft’s offering AA rating in a recent test. That’s a very significant improvement from the failing grade received by Windows Defender the last time around.
Windows remains the most popular PC operating system on the planet, and so Windows users can’t rely on security by obscurity when it comes to virus and malware protection. We’re excited to see that Microsoft has managed to up the protection level they’re building into Windows today, and hope they continue to improve–if Windows Defender can be fully trusted one day, that’s just one less resource-hungry application we’ll need to run.