Microsoft Security Essentials: “Reruns” Aren’t Just for TV Anymore

by on ‎09-29-2009 05:56 AM

If you watch television in North America, you’re probably familiar with the concept of summer “reruns.” Many television networks and production studios go on hiatus during the late spring and summer months, and don’t produce new shows. To fill the airwaves, TV networks resort to rebroadcasting old shows, known as “reruns.”


Well, it looks like reruns are no longer confined to TV shows or to the summer. Today, Microsoft released a “new” consumer security offering, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE). Instead of actually offering something new or improved to help consumers in the battle against digital dangers, MSE appears to be little more than a bad rerun of Microsoft’s infamous history of offering consumers incomplete and ineffective protection.


According to Microsoft statements, MSE leverages the same core anti-malware technology found in its OneCare products. And since MSE is basically a stripped down version of OneCare, we can look to OneCare’s effectiveness as an indication of how well MSE will – or won’t – protect consumers. In the August 2009 report  from third-party testing organization AV-Comparatives, OneCare continued its string of poor performances, earning the next-to-lowest credential available from AV-Comparatives, “Standard.” In the same test, Norton Antivirus 2010 received AV-Comparatives’ highest award, “Advanced+.”


In case you’re thinking MSE might provide any better protection, especially against the types of real-world malware that consumers are most likely to encounter today, early test results show that it doesn’t. We contracted with Dennis Technology Lab, an independent testing lab based in the UK, to do a comparative antimalware test between Norton Antivirus 2009 and the MSE beta (build 1.0.2140.0). Their report, published in August 2009, indicates that MSE still doesn’t match up in protecting consumers from different types of malware.


DTL exposed both products to live Internet threats that real customers could have encountered during the test period. The tests were designed to realistically reflect a typical customer’s online experience as closely as possible. For example, each test system visited websites, downloaded files and received email messages exactly as an average user would.


The bottom line: MSE falls short of protecting against today’s aggressive malware and zero-day threats. Norton nearly doubled the protection provided by MSE in malware detection, scoring an 80 compared to MSE’s 44 using DTL’s Accuracy scoring system. (This scoring system awards two points for blocking exploits altogether, one point for letting an exploit onto a system but then successfully neutralizing it, and deducts two points for every exploit that compromises a system.)


With today’s crime-fueled threat landscape, consumers need more protection, not less. That’s why we added our new reputation technology, code named Quorum, to our 2010 products. Quorum provides a revolutionary third layer of protection against real-world threats. While Microsoft is stripping down and delivering less protection, Norton is delivering more comprehensive protection from the bad guys.


At the end of the day, MSE is a rerun no one should watch.

by Norton Fighter on ‎09-29-2009 06:03 AM
I think that anybody who has even limited knowledge of security products realises the limitations of Microsoft's OneCare and MSE offerings when compared with the major players in PC protection.
by Voyager10 on ‎09-29-2009 03:25 PM

i have a Virusfolder with Malware inside which not detected with Norton , MSE Final detect from the last 50 Viruses (last 2 Weeks) -> 30 ! ;)


 so much about poor detection..

by on ‎09-29-2009 04:46 PM

I'm very dissapointed to see Symantec employees using these blogs to write flaming FUD for the sake of keeping a few bucks more for their company.


I've beta tested MSE as I have beta tested Norton applications. It's a good product, glitch-free, light on the resources and with a very good detection rate, comparable to Norton's.


And it's free. Yes, Symantec, the people who will install MSE have never been and will most likely never be your customers. This release will though bring a decent malware protection to many, many people who had none so far, making the whole PC environment a bit safer - us and them. Look beyond your profit margin for a second, please.


I hope this disgrace of a blog post will be removed soon. See, Symantec guys, this is the way you write about your competition (or rather, not his or your competition at all). I know you're angling towards the consumer a bit more, but come on...

by pkidza on ‎09-29-2009 09:55 PM

So you compared a limited BETA product to Norton AV which has been in production for a year.  I don't think that is a very fair comparison.  I also thought that the AV engine is based on the Microsoft Forefront one which is not that bad.  I have seen some okay reviews of it.  I would certainly rather install this over AVG.  Once millions of user have this installed I think that the detection rates will get a lot better because they will be getting samples left, right and center.


I have a 2 year subscription to Norton Internet Security 2010 but I have a group of people who have been running Symantec products for the past few years at my recommendation.  Their subscription is about to expire and I think that I will install the Microsoft software on their machines.  I just don't know if the extra few % detection rate that NIS 2010 will give me is worth the $50.  I have also had issues with NIS 2009 crashing after the Windows 7 upgrade patch and breaking itself on another machine after Google Desktop was installed.  Recently I have also had issues with a machine that had been activated for 8 months suddenly deactivate itself 4 months before the subscription was due to expire.  That was a fun 20 minutes on the help system trying to fix.  I just want stable, reliable protection so that I don't constantly have to monitor other peoples' machines and I think that MSSE just might give it to me!

by on ‎09-29-2009 10:39 PM

It looks like Symantec might be scared of losing some of their customers in trying to discredit a newly release AV, while their (Symantec) products have problem after problem.


As far as Norton's detection rate, I've never really had it detect anything.  Although, Their new 2010 version does detect cookies.  LOL.


I've recently dumped Norton due to their inadequate support and I installed MSE today on my PC to test it out.


No licenses to worry about.  Don't have to worry about reinstalling it too many times to the point to where Norton won't honor their subscription.  It's not Norton's place to tell me how many times I can reload my computer system.


I will also be installing MSE on my families and other's computers.  

by COKid on ‎09-30-2009 09:00 PM

Thank you for the blog, Mr. Plante. Your arrogance (or is it fear?) has made my decision as to which AV to use a no-brainer.


You see, when you try to 'rub it in' to another company, it can backfire. So before you go spouting off about how great NIS is, please remember how many crappy versions came before it. It's going to take more than a couple of slightly above average releases of NIS to erase those bad memories.


More options for the consumer is always better. The less malware going around, the better it is for ALL OF US. So lose the cocky attitude, Mr. Plante, practice being humble, and let your product do the talking.



by metalhead82 on ‎10-01-2009 08:15 AM

Stupid blog post, need I say more. I use NIS 2010 currently and I think it is an excellent product, however, I don't believe that Symantec should be authorising this kind of nonsense to be published as I just came back to Norton, having not used it for many years due to the s**te detection rates and bloat. As COKid said above, the product should do the talking, not some jumped up fool.


Even though Microsoft Security Essentials is not a full fledged Internet Security suite, it provides a better layer of protection than no protection at all for the millions of unprotected PC's.


I'm not sure who thought it was a good idea for this FUD to be spread via this blog post.


How can you compare a beta with a released product anyway? 


How can you compare MSE with OneCare? MSE is a completely different, not to mention much newer product.


Stupid. Whats more, it does not increase my respect for Symantec at all, this rubbish should be removed.


by MAXIMUS250 on ‎10-01-2009 08:37 AM

Here is another desperate measure by a software company to cling to an outdated pricing model.  The irony is that Microsoft uses the same tactics to disparage free OS offerings.


The only thing Symantec can do to convince me to buy their software is to change their price.  Just because corporations are willing to shell out big $$ does not mean the average consumer will so easily pay.  I cannot accept the cost/year.  $80 for 3 computers per year is just not realistic.  I have 5 computers that need protection, so I am looking at $160/year at a minimum to buy into the Symantec protection.


Whether antivirus vendors like it or not, their software is not like other software.  It does not provide an obvious feature set - it simply prevents and protects against possible threats.  In that way it is analogous to the insurance industry.  With that said, the pricing must reflect a similar model.  Either reduce the up front price, increase the number of years covered, increase the number of computers covered, or reduce the cost of renewal.


In reality, Symantec could probably afford to give their product away to home users and live off the corporate revenue.  Unfortunately, in today's hyper-capitalistic society where wall-street returns are all that matters, that is crazy talk. 

by on ‎10-02-2009 04:33 AM
I would like to use the Norton Antivirus because it is advance++
by silverhawk on ‎10-02-2009 07:52 AM
Happy to see the post. Great going Symantec with AV comparatives results also..
by BrandonLive on ‎10-05-2009 11:38 AM

The content of the MS press release you link to is completely counter to the claim you made in linking to it.  Did you expect your readers to not check the source that *you provided*?


As the release indicates, MSE is based on Microsoft's ForeFront enterprise security technology.


Dennis Technology Lab seems to be a dubious source, with no indication anywhere on the web that such a lab even exists outside of Symantec forums.  If it is real, could you please provide a link to their website?  Neither Google nor Bing seems to know of one.


Every review of MSE that I can find seems to dispute your claims.  For example:

by svtcontour on ‎11-11-2009 06:18 AM

Wow dissapointing - Symantec playing childish games....


So far from recent testing with infected machines, I find Microsofts latest antivirus to be the best I've used. Its managed to clean machines that all others have failed at.  I'm going with MS.

by EricHilton1987 on ‎11-11-2009 09:43 PM

Well, I hate to sound like a "ReRun" but I to find it dissapointing to see Symantec blast Microsoft just to attempt to scare potential MSE users to chose Norton.


I love Norton products and currently I am subscribed to many of your products so I am not here to bash you.


Some computer users simply do not have the money to purchase a high end product like Norton and it is unfair make them feel as though there decsion not to shell out 40-100 bucks is a loser one.


Another group of PC users are not knowledgable to know the difference in Free and Paid and do not know difference in your product and the free ones. Taking advantage of these novice users is very cowardly.


For once i'd like to see you say something nice about the competition.. I dont know about others but that tends to make me see you in a better light and might persuade me into purchasing your product over the other guys.


As a PC user, I welcome the competition.  It is nice knowing that so many software vendors are pretty much forcing each other to out do there products.. I think symantec should happily welcome that as well.

by chaz_001 on ‎11-16-2009 05:27 AM

This is a rather desperate blog by Norton.


Norton have always produced bloated software that slows a PC down considerably and when a free product comes along they will always want to feed the fear, uncertainty and doubt into peoples minds.  That is the whole basis of antivirus/internet security software business is to feed that seed of doubt. What will help alot of people is to educate on how viruses spread and how PC's get infected. Once you apply some basic understanding and not to trust everything that arrives on your computer then you are in a good position. The Windows 7 firewall is more than adequate - you don't need a third party program unless you are perhaps wanting to control your PC's security a different way.


Yes, MSE doesn't have as many features as Norton AV BUT test results have shown it works and works very well.  I notice the above blog refers to the older OneCare and beta version of MSE. Both of these are outdated now and are widely regarded as inferior to the official MSE release.


Will I spend money on Symantec's products? You have got to be joking!


Another reason why Norton would do a blog like this is because they feel threatened and want to keep people buying there products!

by mirrorman on ‎01-21-2010 06:26 AM

It is a business and as any corporate business will do they boast theirs is better.  I use norton 360 premier edition on 3 different computers and have no slow down problems at all. I had replaced one care with norton due to running problems and infection of viruses it didn't stop. Granted older norton products were hogs and frustrating to the point of wanting to replace them. As far as what Norton posts, again all companies do this at some point. Take it for what it is and get over yourselves!  And as for the cost?? If you can't afford it get a differtent security program. There is a reason big business dosen't use free security software, Duh!

by Floating_Red on ‎01-21-2010 02:32 PM

I just saw a Review on this, and granted, it is a nice application and works well; however, it Failed to Detect a Rootkit.  At least Norton Detects Rootkits...

by on ‎01-24-2010 07:17 PM

Perhaps MSE is or isn't the best internet security product out there, but this "Mike Plante", whoever he or she is, is fairly uneducated and a corporate liability for someone claiming to be at his or her level of Symantec and a waste of time for anyone to take seriously.

by Moderator on ‎04-28-2011 07:49 AM