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Windows News
Microsoft: Security essentials covers the basics only

Microsoft has admitted Windows users should install antivirus above and beyond its own Security Essentials, describing its protection as merely a "baseline" that will "always be on the bottom" of antivirus software rankings.

Microsoft launched Security Essentials in 2009, raising complaints from antivirus rivals that such software shouldn't be bundled with Windows for competition reasons.

However, the most frequent complaint about Security Essentials is that it's not good enough: it flunked a pair of tests earlier this year - including one from Dennis Technology Labs, a testing firm affiliated with our sister magazine's publisher.

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.

Holly Stewart, senior program manager of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center, told Dennis Technology Labs that Microsoft made a decision to switch to what it calls a "baseline strategy".

"We had an epiphany a few years ago, back in 2011, where we realised we had a greater calling and that was to protect all Microsoft customers," she said. "But you can’t do that with a monoculture and you can’t do that with a malware-catching ecosystem that is not robust and diverse."

Rather than focus on making its own antivirus the best in the business, Stewart said Microsoft was "doing everything we can to protect against real threats" and passing data on those threats to antivirus makers, so multiple parties can target the problems.

"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."

Read more: PC Tech


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