Microsoft Defender has a key weakness that its rivals don’t

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Nothing beats free virus protection on Windows, like Microsoft Defender, but some of that might not be as powerful as you think based on new research from an anti-malware review company.

The latest AV-Comparatives report shows data that reveals that Microsoft Defender does not perform as well with antivirus scans while offline compared to its competitors.

In the study, spotted by Neowin, AV-Comparatives carried out two specific tests. The first is file detection and the second is malware protection. File detection had both offline and online mode, unlike the latter option. With file detection, the group tested the ability of antivirus software to detect good files versus malicious files. With malware protection, it’s about preventing a malicious program from making changes.

In file detection tests, Microsoft Defender ranked poorly when tested in offline mode. It had a detection rate of 60.3% compared to others on the list like Avast’s 94.2% or Kasperksy’s 78%. Only Trend Micro ranked worse than Microsoft in offline detection, with 36.1% detection. In online mode, however, Microsoft Defender achieved a detection rate of 98.8%, leading with Avast’s 99.5%.

AV-Comparatives

This is something that is by design, as cloud-based antivirus services check your PC against the latest threats. Yet there are flaws too, as not all PCs are always online to get the latest signatures and protections from Microsoft or other antivirus companies.

“The test gives an indication of each product’s cloud dependency and therefore how it protects the system when an internet connection is not available. We suggest vendors of heavily cloud-dependent products notify users appropriately,” AV-Comparatives notes.

When it comes to protection ratings, Microsoft still didn’t do too badly in tests where 10,040 malware samples were injected into systems. NortonLifeLock had a 100% protection rate with no compromised files, and Microsoft had a 99.95% protection rate with 4 compromised files. Still, false positives should be factored into the count, with Microsoft getting 5 and Norton getting 4.

AV-Comparatives Protection Rate Chart.
AV-Comparatives

Despite all this data, at the end of the AV-Comparatives report, the group still ends up giving a victory to Microsoft. Microsoft Defender received the Advanced “+” award, along with other players like Avast, AVG, Avira, Kaspersky, McAfee, and NortonLifeLock. A small flaw doesn’t make an antivirus fatal, but you might want to be careful what files you open when your PC is offline, because you never know when a virus might strike and when antivirus software might not be the best. more efficient. .

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