Windows 8 users users shun Defender in favour of third-party antivirus, figures suggest

Two thirds activate separate client, OPSWAT finds

Microsoft's Security Essentials (MSE) remains a hugely popular consumer antivirus product but new figures suggest that its Windows 8 successor, Defender, is losing out to third-party alternatives.

Security tools firm OPSWAT has carried out market share analysis of antivirus clients using numbers from its AppRemover tool in the past, but the latest stats are derived from its new security assessment application, Security Score, released in June.

This time the firm divided its results into three categories; the most popular vendors overall, the most encountered individual products and the most encountered individual products that had real-time protection enabled (or not), coming up with some interesting numbers.

Not surprisingly, the frequency of Microsoft's Security Essentials (the standard Windows antivirus client) and Windows Defender (which was upgraded to succeed it on Windows 8) topped the list at a combined 25.8 percent, just ahead of Avast Software's 23.6 percent. A clutch of other familair vendors scored under 10 percent, including AVG, Symantec, Eset, Avira and Kaspersky.

The top individual product was in fact Avast's Free Antivirus with 19.5 percent, followed by MSE on 18.3 percent, with the Windows 8-only Windows Defender on 7.7 percent.

There were some limitations to this element of the study, starting with the small installed base of Security Score due its recent release. However, the numbers it generated chime with past OPSWAT products share results that used larger data sets.

More interestingly, when the company logged the number of occurrences of each vendor where realtime protection was not enabled (i.e. where the software was present but inactive or disabled), they found that two thirds of Windows 8 users were using a second program for realtime protection.

Windows Defender comes enabled on every install so users who choose to supplement it are making a positive choice to do so. By contrast, MSE on Windows 7, Vista and XP was far more likely to be enabled, 98 percent of the time to be precise.

"RTP status can be seen as a metric for product usability and/or effectiveness; if a user views an antivirus product as effective and easy to operate, the user is more likely to have that product actively running on his or her machine," concludes OPSWAT's researchers.

It could also be the case that Windows 8 users are confused about the level of protection offered by Defender or even whether, given its self-effacing design, it is present at all. A study by OPSWAT from 2012 found that antivirus programs were often poorly configured.

On cloud backup use, OPSWAT found Google's Drive on 22.5 of systems, Dropbox on 19.5 percent, and Microsoft's SkyDrive (soon to have its name changed) on 15.4 percent. The top 10 vendors accounted for more than 83 percent of the market, which suggests that this particular market is now too mature for outsiders to make headway.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Personal TechMicrosoftsecurityOpswat

More about AvastAviraDropboxEsetGoogleKasperskyMicrosoftSymantec

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John E Dunn

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place