Microsoft Security Essentials
Microsoft Security Essentials version 4.0 running on Windows 7
|Initial release||29 September 2009|
|Stable release||220.127.116.11 / 13 May 2015|
|Preview release||18.104.22.168 / 14 April 2015|
|Platform||IA-32 and x64|
|Available in||33 languages|
|Type||Antivirus and network intrusion detection system|
Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is an antivirus software (AV) product that provides protection against different types of malware such as computer viruses, spyware, rootkits and Trojan horses. It runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, but not on Windows 8, which has a built-in AV component. The license agreement allows home users and small businesses to install and use the product free of charge. It replaces Windows Live OneCare, a discontinued commercial subscription-based AV service, and the free Windows Defender, which until Windows 8 only protected users from adware and spyware.
Built upon the same virus definitions and scanning engine as other Microsoft antivirus products, MSE provides real-time protection, constantly monitoring activities on the computer and scanning new files as they are downloaded or created and disabling detected threats. It lacks the personal firewall of OneCare or the centralized management features of Forefront Endpoint Protection.
Microsoft's announcement of its own AV software on 18 November 2008 was met with mixed reactions from the AV industry. Symantec, McAfee and Kaspersky Lab—three competing independent software vendors—dismissed it as an unworthy competitor, but AVG Technologies and Avast Software appreciated its potential to expand the consumers' choice of AV software. AVG, McAfee, Sophos and Trend Micro claimed that the integration of the product into Microsoft Windows would be a violation of competition law.
The product received generally positive reviews praising its user interface, low resource usage and freeware license. It secured AV-TEST certification on October 2009, having demonstrated its ability to eliminate all widely encountered malware. However, it lost the certificate on October 2012, having shown a constant decline in protection and repair scores. In June 2013, MSE achieved the lowest possible protection score, zero. According to a March 2012 report by anti-malware specialist OPSWAT, MSE was the most popular AV product in North America and the second most popular in the world, which has resulted in the appearance of several rogue antivirus programs that try to impersonate it.
Microsoft Security Essentials is an antivirus software (AV) product that fights malware (malicious software), including computer viruses, spyware, Trojan horses and rootkits. The software runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7. It replaces Windows Live OneCare, a discontinued commercial subscription-based AV service, and the free Windows Defender, which until Windows 8 only protected users from adware and spyware. It automatically checks for and downloads the virus definitions it relies on from Microsoft Update, a web-based software service updated three times a day. Users may alternatively download the updates manually from the Microsoft Security Portal website. On 30 September 2011, a faulty definition update caused the product to incorrectly tag Google Chrome as malware. The issue was resolved within three hours.
MSE is built upon the same foundation as other Microsoft security products; all use the same virus definitions and anti-malware engine, known as Microsoft Malware Protection Engine (MSMPENG). It lacks the personal firewall of OneCare or the centralized management features of Forefront Endpoint Protection.
MSE provides real-time protection, constantly monitoring activities on the computer and scanning new files as they are downloaded or created. It disables detected threats and prompts for user input on how to deal with them. If no response is received within ten minutes, suspected threats are handled according to the default actions defined in the application's settings. Depending on those settings, it may also create System Restore checkpoints before removing the detected malware. As a part of real-time protection, by default, MSE reports all suspicious behaviors of monitored programs to Microsoft Active Protection Service (MAPS, originally Microsoft SpyNet), a web-based service. If the report matches a newly discovered malware threat with an unreleased virus definition, the new definition is downloaded to remove the threat.
Hardware requirements for the product depend on the operating system. On a computer with Windows XP, it requires at least a 500 MHz processor and 256 MB of RAM. On a system running Windows Vista or Windows 7, it requires a 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of RAM. It also needs a computer monitor with a display resolution of at least 800 × 600 pixels, 200 MB of free hard disk space and an Internet connection.
On 18 November 2008, Microsoft announced plans for a free consumer security product, codenamed Morro. This development marked a change in Microsoft's consumer AV marketing strategy: instead of offering a subscription-based security product with a host of other tools, such as backup and a personal firewall, Morro would offer free AV protection with a smaller impact on system resources. Amy Barzdukas, senior director of product management for the Online Services and Windows Division at Microsoft, announced that Morro would not directly compete with other commercial AV software; rather it was focused on the 50 to 60 percent of PC users who did not have or would not pay for AV protection. By 17 June 2009, the official name of Morro was revealed: Microsoft Security Essentials.
On 23 June 2009, Microsoft released a public beta to 75,000 users in the United States, Israel, China and Brazil. Anticipated to be available in 20 markets and 10 languages, the product was scheduled for release before the end of 2009; the final build was released on 29 September 2009.
Almost a year after the initial release, Microsoft quietly released the second version. It entered the technical preview stage on 19 July 2010, and the final build was released on 16 December 2010. It includes Network Inspection System (NIS), a network intrusion detection system that works on Windows Vista and Windows 7, as well as a new anti-malware engine that employs heuristics in malware detection. Version 2.0 integrates with Internet Explorer to protect users against web-based threats. NIS requires a separate set of definition updates.
Sixteen months after the release of version 2.0, Microsoft skipped version 3.0 and released Microsoft Security Essentials 4.0. A public beta program started on 18 November 2011, when Microsoft sent out invitations to potential participants without announcing a version number. The first beta version was released on 29 November 2011, and the final build on 24 April 2012. Microsoft subsequently initiated a pre-release program that provides volunteers with the latest beta version and accepts feedback.
On 21 February 2014, version 4.5 entered beta stage. On the same day, Microsoft announced that starting with this version, Windows XP would not be supported. Older versions would continue to receive virus definition updates until 14 July 2015.
Microsoft Security Essentials does not run on Windows 8, which has its own security subsystem. On 13 September 2011, at Build conference in Anaheim, California, Microsoft unveiled the developer preview of Windows 8, which had a security component capable of preventing an infected USB flash memory from compromising the system during the boot process. On 15 September, Windows 8 developer's blog confirmed that Windows Defender in Windows 8 would take over the role of virus protection. In an included video, Jason Garms of Microsoft showed how Windows Defender is registered with Action Center as an AV and spyware protection tool, and how it blocks drive-by malware. On 3 March 2012, Softpedia reviewed the consumer preview of Windows 8 and noted the similarity in appearance of Windows Defender and Microsoft Security Essentials 4.0 Beta. According to Softpedia, Windows 8 Setup requires Microsoft Security Essentials to be uninstalled before upgrading Windows 7.
The product's license agreement allows home users to download, install and use it on an unlimited number of computers in their households free of charge, so long as each computer has a legitimately licensed copy of Microsoft Windows. Since October 2010, small businesses have also been allowed to install the product on up to 10 devices, but use in academic institutions and governmental locations is forbidden, as is reverse-engineering, decompiling or disassembling the product or working around its designed limitations.
MSE requires no registration or personal information to be submitted during installation; however, the validity of the operating system's license is verified during and after installation using the Windows Genuine Advantage system. If said license is found to be invalid, the software will notify the user and will cease to operate after a period of time.
The announcement and debut of Microsoft Security Essentials was met with mixed responses from the AV industry. Symantec, McAfee and Kaspersky Lab, three competing vendors, claimed it to be inferior to their own software. Jens Meggers, Symantec's vice president of engineering for Norton products, dismissed it as "very average – nothing outstanding". Tom Powledge of Symantec urged his customers to be mindful of what protection they chose, bearing in mind that OneCare offered "substandard protection" and an "inferior user experience". Joris Evers, director of worldwide public relations for McAfee stated "with OneCare's market share of less than 2%, we understand Microsoft's decision to shift attention to their core business." Justin Priestley of Kaspersky stated that Microsoft "continued to hold a very low market share in the consumer market, and we don't expect the exit of OneCare to change the playing field drastically."
Avast Software said that it had an ambivalent view towards the product. Vincent Steckler, Avast Software CEO said "MSE is not the silver bullet but it is also not the bad sequel to One Care that some claim." A representative of AVG Technologies stated, "We view this as a positive step for the AV landscape. AVG has believed in the right to free antivirus software for the past eight years." However, AVG raised the issue of distributing the software product and said, "Microsoft will have to do more than simply make the product available," adding that integration of Microsoft Security Essentials with Microsoft Windows would be a violation of competition law. McAfee, Sophos and later Trend Micro affirmed that an antitrust lawsuit would surely have followed if Microsoft had bundled the product with Windows.
The announcement of Microsoft Security Essentials affected the stocks of AV vendors. On 19 November 2008, after Microsoft announced codename Morro, Symantec and McAfee shares fell 9.44 and 6.62 percent respectively. On 10 June 2009, after announcing an upcoming beta version, Microsoft shares rose 2.1 percent. Symantec and McAfee shares, however, fell 0.5 and 1.3 percent respectively. Daniel Ives, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets, said that Microsoft Security Essentials would be a "long-term competitive threat", although near-term impact would be negligible.
Reviews and awards
The public beta version received several reviews, citing its low resource usage, straightforward user interface and price point. Brian Krebs of The Washington Post reported that a quick scan on a Windows 7 computer took about 10 minutes and a full scan about 45 minutes. Ars Technica reviewed it positively, citing its organized interface, low resource usage, and its status as freeware.
Nick Mediati of PCWorld noted MSE's "clear-cut" and "cleanly designed" tabbed user interface. He did, however, find some of the settings to be cryptic and confusing, defaulting to "recommended action", with the only explanation of what that action is to be found in the help file. He was also initially confused because the user interface failed to mention that Microsoft Security Essentials automatically updates itself, rather than having to be manually updated via the Update tab; an explanation of this feature was included in the final release.
Neil Rubenking of PC Magazine successfully installed the beta version on 12 malware-infected systems and commented on its small installation package (about 7 MB, depending on the operating system) and speedy installation. But the initial virus definition update took between 5 and 15 minutes, and the full installation occupied about 110 MB of disk space. Rubenking noted that the beta version sets Windows Update into fully automatic mode, although it can be turned off again through Windows Control Panel. Some full scans took more than an hour on infected systems; a scan on a clean system took 35 minutes. An on-demand scan test Rubenking conducted in June 2009 with the beta version found 89 percent of all malware samples: 30 percent of the commercial keyloggers, 67 percent of rootkits, but only half of the scareware samples. The product's real-time protection found 83 percent of all malware and blocked the majority of it: 40 percent of the commercial keyloggers and 78 percent of the rootkits were found.
On 7 January 2010, Microsoft Security Essentials won the Best Free Software award from PC Advisor. In December the same year, it secured the Bronze award from AV-Comparatives for proactive detection of 55 percent of new or unknown malware, the Silver award for low false-positives (six occurrences) and the Bronze award for overall performance.
In October 2009, AV-TEST conducted a series of trials on the final build of the product in which it detected and caught 98.44 percent of 545,034 computer viruses, computer worms and software Trojan horses as well as 90.95 percent of 14,222 spyware and adware samples. It also detected and eliminated all 25 tested rootkits, generating no false-positives. Between June 2010 to January 2013, AV-TEST tested Microsoft Security Essentials 14 times; in 11 out of 14 cases, MSE secured AV-TEST certification of outperforming AV industry average ratings.[a] Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0 was tested and certified on March 2011. The product achieved a protection score of 2.5 out of 6, a repair score of 3.5 out of 6 and a usability score of 5.5 out of 6. Report details show that although version 2.0 was able to find all malware samples of the WildList (widespread malware), it was not able to stop all Internet-based attacks because it lacks personal firewall and anti-spam capabilities. In an April 2012 test, version 2.1 achieved scores of 3.0, 5.5 and 5.0 for protection, repair and usability. Version 4.0 for Windows 7 SP1 (x64) was tested in June 2012 and achieved scores of 2.5, 5.5 and 5.5 for protection, repair and usability. In October 2012, the product lost its AV-TEST certification when Microsoft Security Essentials 4.1 achieved scores of 1.5, 3.5 and 5.5 for its protection, repair and usability.
In AV-TEST's 2011 annual review, Microsoft Security Essentials came last in protection, seventh in repair and fifth in usability. In the 2012 review, it came last in protection and best in usability; however, having lost its certificate, it was not qualified for the usability award. In June 2013, MSE achieved the lowest possible protection score, zero.
On 29 September 2010, a year after its initial release, Microsoft announced that MSE had more than 30 million users. The Security Industry Market Share Analysis report of June 2011, published by OPSWAT, describes it as one of the most popular AV products in the world, with 10.66 percent of the global market:5 and 15.68 percent of the North American market.:4 The same report shows Microsoft as the number one AV vendor in North America with 17.07 percent market share,:3 and the number four AV vendor worldwide.:2
John Dunn of PCWorld, who analyzed the report, noted that the tendency to use free AV software is something new: "After all, free antivirus suites have been around for years but have tended to be seen as the poor relations to paid software." He named Microsoft Security Essentials as an influence on PC users to adopt free AV software.
A September 2011 OPSWAT report found that MSE had further increased its market share to become the second most popular AV product in the world, and remained the most popular in North America. OPSWAT reported in March 2012 that the product had maintained its position, and that Microsoft's market share had improved by 2 percent worldwide and 3 percent in North America. Seth Rosenblatt of CNET News commented on how the product's share rose from 7.27 in 2010 to 10.08 in 2012, stating that "use of the lightweight security suite exploded last year".
Impersonation by malware
The popularity of Microsoft Security Essentials has led to the appearance of malware abusing its name. In February 2010, a rogue security package calling itself "Security Essentials 2010" appeared on the Internet. Designated TrojanDownloader:Win32/Fakeinit by Microsoft, it bears no visual resemblance to the Microsoft product. It reappeared in November 2010, this time calling itself "Microsoft Security Essentials 2011". A more dangerous rogue appeared in August 2010. Designated Rogue:Win32/FakePAV or Unknown Win32/Trojan, it closely resembles Microsoft Security Essentials and uses sophisticated social engineering to deceive users and infect their systems, under the guise of five different fictional anti-malware products. It also terminates and prevents the launch of 156 different programs, including Registry Editor, Windows Command Prompt, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari and Google Chrome.
- According to AV-TEST: "Jeder Unterpunkt der Hauptkategorien wird über den Testzeitraum monatlich bewertet. Die erreichte Leistung wird prozentual vom Industrie-Durchschnitt eingestuft. [...] Für den Privatanwenderbereich muss ein Produkt mindestens 10 der erreichbaren 18 Punkte erhalten sowie mindestens 1 Punkt in jeder Kategorie, um sich ein "AV-TEST CERTIFIED" zu verdienen." Translation: The performance level achieved is considered as a percentage of the industry average score. [...] Home-user products must achieve at least 10 of the 18 points available and at least 1 point in each category in order to earn an "AV-TEST CERTIFIED" seal of approval.
- "Microsoft Security Essentials 22.214.171.124 Prerelease". Softpedia. SoftNews SRL. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- "Download Microsoft Security Essentials Prerelease from Official Microsoft Download Center". Microsoft. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- "Microsoft Security Essentials". Download Center. Microsoft. 26 February 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
- "Install the latest Microsoft Security Essentials definition updates". Malware Protection Center. Microsoft. 11 March 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2010.
- "Download Microsoft Security Essentials". Windows portal. Microsoft. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- "Microsoft Software License Terms". Microsoft. 26 May 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- Finkle, Jim (10 June 2009). "Update 3-Microsoft will soon unveil free anti-virus software". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "System requirements". Microsoft. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- Mills, Elinor (18 June 2009). "Microsoft's free antimalware beta on the way". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
- Bott, Ed (30 September 2011). "Users report Microsoft Security Essentials removes Google Chrome". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
- Metz, Cade (30 September 2011). "Microsoft Anti-Malware Tool Mistakenly Snuffs Google Chrome". Wired. Condé Nast. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
- Tesar, David (29 September 2009). "Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) released". TechNet. Microsoft. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Microsoft Malware Protection Engine deployment information (Revision: 3.0)". Support. Microsoft. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012.
- Thurrott, Paul (6 October 2010). "Microsoft Security Essentials Public Beta". Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows. Penton Media. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- Krebs, Brian (24 June 2009). "Microsoft Debuts Free antivirus Software Beta". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
- Ilascu, Ionut (25 April 2012). "Microsoft Security Essentials 4.0 Quietly Released". Softpedia. SoftNews NET. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
- Ditto-Ehlert, Kimborly A. (22 February 2011). "Microsoft SpyNet?". Forefront Endpoint Protection Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
- "Microsoft Announces Plans for No-Cost Consumer Security Offering". News Center. Microsoft. 18 November 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Microsoft to offer free security". BBC. 19 November 2008. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
- Hoffman, Stefanie (19 November 2008). "Microsoft: Morro Won't Compete With Symantec, McAfee". CRN. UBM. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- Protalinski, Emil (17 June 2009). "Leaked: Microsoft Security Essentials (codename Morro)". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- Foley, Mary-Jo (23 June 2009). "Microsoft Security Essentials beta to be capped at 75,000, kicks off today". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- Mediati, Nick (28 June 2009). "Microsoft Security Essentials Launches Tuesday". PCWorld. IDG. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
- LeBlanc, Brandon (20 July 2010). "Beta for Next Version of Microsoft Security Essentials Now Available". Blogging Windows. Microsoft. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
- Whitney, Lance (21 July 2010). "Microsoft debuts beta of new Security Essentials". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- Whitney, Lance (17 December 2010). "Microsoft releases free Security Essentials 2.0". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
- Gordon, Whitson (17 December 2010). "Microsoft Security Essentials 2 Released, Still The Best Antivirus". Lifehacker. Allure Media. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- Foley, Mary Jo (18 November 2011). "Microsoft seeks testers for limited beta of next-gen Security Essentials". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- Thomas, Orin (18 November 2011). "New Microsoft Security Essentials Beta program open". Windows IT Pro. Penton Media. Retrieved 19 November 2011.
- Bink, Steven (29 November 2011). "New Microsoft Security Essentials Beta now public". Bink.nu. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- Perry, Douglas (2 December 2011). "Microsoft Skips 3, Releases Security Essentials 4 Beta". Tom's Hardware. Bestofmedia. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- "Homepage for the pre-release program". Connect. Microsoft. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
- Popa, Bogdan (21 February 2014). "Microsoft Security Essentials 126.96.36.199 Pre-Release Available for Download". Softpedia. SoftNews. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
- Popa, Bogdan (21 February 2014). "Microsoft Removes Windows XP Support in Security Essentials Prerelease Builds". Softpedia. SoftNews. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
- Yegulalp, Serdar (16 February 2014). "Microsoft extends XP anti-malware support until July 2015". InfoWorld. IDG. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- Whitney, Lance (13 September 2011). "Windows 8 to offer built-in malware protection". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
- Kingsley-Hughes, Adrian (13 September 2011). "Windows 8 will ship with built-in antivirus protection". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 16 September 2012.
- Sinofsky, Steven. "Protecting you from malware". Building Windows 8. Microsoft. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Arghire, Ionut (3 March 2012). "Windows 8 Consumer Preview: Windows Defender (MSE)". Softpedia. SoftNews NET. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Protalinski, Emil (17 October 2010). "Competitors declare MSE is not enough for small businesses". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- Bott, Ed (18 June 2009). "How good is Microsoft's free antivirus software?". ZDnet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- Keizer, Gregg (29 September 2009). "Rivals mock Microsoft's free security software". Computerworld. IDG. Retrieved 30 September 2009.
- Messmer, Ellen (1 October 2009). "Anti-malware test in hand, Symantec swats Microsoft Security Essentials". ITworld. IDG. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
- Schofield, Jack (27 November 2008). "Security 'hippos' dismiss Microsoft Morro launch". Guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
- Vamosi, Robert (19 November 2008). "Antivirus firms shrug at Microsoft's free security suite". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- Steckler, Vincent (2 October 2009). "And what about Microsoft Security Essentials—MSE?". Avast! Blog. Avast Software a.s. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
- Schofield, Jack (11 June 2009). "Waiting for Morro: Microsoft's free anti-virus software". Guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- Fried, Ina (18 November 2008). "Will Microsoft's antivirus move draw antitrust fire?". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 6 July 2009.
- Bright, Peter (5 November 2010). "Trend Micro cries "antitrust" over Microsoft Security Essentials". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- Rubenking, Neil J. (18 June 2009). "Microsoft Security Essentials beta". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
- Mediati, Nick (24 June 2009). "Microsoft Security Essentials: Basic, Automatic Protection". PCWorld. IDG. Retrieved 10 July 2009.
- Angad, Ulhas M. (17 October 2009). "Microsoft Security Essentials Review". Satishsays.com. Satishsays Dot Com. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2009.
- Protalinski, Emil (29 September 2009). "First look: Microsoft Security Essentials impresses". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- Ilascu, Ionut (1 October 2009). "Microsoft's Security Essentials Kit". Softpedia. SoftNews NET. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- "Microsoft wins PC Advisor's Best Free Software award – PC Advisor Awards 2010: winners announced". PC Advisor. IDG. 7 January 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2012.
- "Summary Report 2010" (PDF). av-comparatives.org. AV-Comparatives. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
- Whitney, Lance (2 October 2009). "Security Essentials fares well in AV-Test trial". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 24 July 2010.
- "Home User: Microsoft". AV-TEST.org. AV-TEST. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
- "AV-TEST Product Review and Certification Report – Q1/2011 Microsoft Security Essentials 2.0". AV-TEST.org. AV-TEST. March 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- "AV-TEST Product Review and Certification Report – Mar–Apr/2012 Microsoft Security Essentials 2.1". AV-TEST.org. AV-TEST. April 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- "AV-TEST Product Review and Certification Report – May-Jun/2012 Microsoft Security Essentials 4.0". AV-TEST.org. AV-TEST. June 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
- Rubenking, Neil J. (28 November 2012). "Microsoft Fails AV-Test Certification". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- "AV-TEST Product Review and Certification Report – Sep-Oct/2012 Microsoft Security Essentials 4.0". AV-TEST.org. AV-TEST. June 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- "AV-TEST 2011 Awards". AV-TEST.org. AV-TEST. 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
- "AV-TEST 2012 Awards". AV-TEST.org. AV-TEST. 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- "Microsoft Security Essentials racks up 30 million users". TechRadar. Future. 29 September 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
- "Security Industry Market Share Analysis – June 2011" (PDF). OPSWAT. 6 June 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
- Dunn, John E. (7 June 2011). "Free Antivirus Programs Rise in Popularity, New Survey Shows". PCWorld. IDG. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
- "Security Industry Market Share Analysis – September 2011" (PDF). OPSWAT. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- "Security Industry Market Share Analysis – March 2012" (PDF). OPSWAT. 8 March 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- Rossenblat, Seth (16 March 2012). "Microsoft's Essentials bet pays off". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
- Wood, David (24 February 2010). "If it calls itself "Security Essentials 2010", then it's possibly fake, innit?". Malware Protection Center Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 1 March 2010.
- "Encyclopedia Entry: TrojanDownloader:Win32/Fakeinit". Malware Protection Center. Microsoft. 2 April 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
- O'Dea, Hamish (15 November 2010). "New Year, Same Old Rogues". Malware Protection Center Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
- Foster, Eric (25 October 2010). "Fake Microsoft Security Essentials software on the loose. Don't be fooled by it!". Windows Security Blog. Microsoft. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
- O'Dea, Hamish (9 November 2010). "MSRT Tackles Fake Microsoft Security Essentials". Microsoft. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
- "Encyclopedia Entry: Rogue:Win32/FakePAV". Malware Protection Center. Microsoft. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
- "Zertifizierte Sicherheit" [Certified Security]. AV-TEST.org (in German). AV-TEST. Retrieved 4 June 2012.