Last year in May, the TechRepublic reported that Windows 10 was officially running 300 million devices. This number put the company right on the track to reach its target of getting their operating system on 1 billion devices worldwide by the end of 2018.
The number is quite impressive. For instance, roughly 350 million licenses of Windows 7 were sold in 18 months, while W10 managed to surpass 300 million licenses in just short nine months. And yes, the number of PC users has grown considerably in the last couple of years – the fact is – the numbers don’t increase with each new OS.
Mac vs. PC?
The war between Mac and PC raged for more than a decade. One side argued that while Mac had less software – what was there was simply superior. On the other hand, PC-supporters argued that Windows was way more versatile. And now, when the war is finally over, we could easily say that both sides have won – Apple’s devices are ridiculously profitable, while Microsoft’s products have more users.
Microsoft simply offers software with interface that is user-friendly for both the end-users and IT administrators alike. Windows is far more popular than any other OS on the market, especially when it comes to business usage. Today, according to data from the biggest web developer site in the world, W3Schools, Windows is used roughly 85% of offices, with Mac a distant second at 10%.
However, no matter what company or OS you prefer, you have to agree on one thing – when it comes to security, Apple’s products clearly have an upper hand. And don’t get us wrong, Macs aren’t more secure than Windows – they simply get attacked far less often.
The Windows Defense System
Attacks on Apple have grown dramatically over the past few years. Research from the security firm Bit 9 has discovered that in 2015 alone, the number of OSX malware samples has been five times greater than in previous five years combined. But seeing how Windows still controls a vast majority of the market, cybercriminals find exploiting Windows’ security gaps far more lucrative.
So what steps has Microsoft taken to protect its users? Well, the latest version of Windows won’t force you to install any antivirus software like Windows 7 did, because since Windows 8, the OS now includes a built-in system called Windows Defender. The program used to be available separately as MSE (Microsoft Security Essentials), and on the surface, it looks like a fine defensive system.
However, is it really the best solution for protecting your computer from literally millions of malicious programs out there? Or better yet – is it even just good enough for your PC?
Is Windows Defender Any Good?
When you initially install W10, you’ll instantly have an antivirus running, because the Defender will automatically scan any program you open. The program has an easy-to-use interface that allows you to do in-depth scans and it also regularly downloads new definitions from Windows Update.
That all sounds like your typical antivirus, but the truth is the software is a little bit behind the other software when it comes to comparative antivirus tests. And while the scores have improved in the recent years, as HowToGeek.com reports, even Microsoft now recommends that you should use additional protective software.
Nevertheless, Defender still has some advantages. As we mentioned before, it’s built-in, so it doesn’t ask for any money, it doesn’t harass the users with any annoying pop-ups and it’s lighter than some other antivirus solutions. And finally, it won’t try to harvest your personal data for profit like some other free programs tend to do in an effort to make a profit.
How Does it Compare to Other Antiviruses?
The Defender has just 3.5 (out of 6) on the AV-TEST, and a not-so-complimentary “tested” score on the AV-Comparatives. But once you look at the actual numbers, you see that it still catches 99% of the most prevalent malware and stops 95% of zero-day attacks. And you have to admit that those numbers are more than decent.
On the other hand, more popular antivirus solutions like Kaspersky and BitDefender protect you against 100% of zero-day attacks, and have scored 99.9% on “real-world” tests. In the past, Microsoft has said that their software focuses more on malware that’s prevalent in the RW, but the company doesn’t even comment these test results anymore.
All in all, WD doesn’t provide bad protection – assuming your OS is up-to-date, that you avoid potentially dangerous plug-ins and that you use the best Windows VPN on the market to access the Internet. The basic security practices anyone should be following can go a long way, and the Defender merges that with a baseline of protection.
What’s the Best Protection for your PC?
This is a hard question, and basically, it all depends on your specific needs. We cannot simply recommend one specific antivirus, because every system offers something a little different.
For instance, if you want the best protection, you are going to have to pay a couple of dollars. Experts consistently rank Kaspersky on the top of various antivirus lists. Its interface is also pretty easy to use, so even if you don’t have any experience with these programs, you’ll be able to use it easily.
In contrast, out of all free options, Avira 2017 provides the perfect balance between real-time protection and non-intrusiveness. It also scores great on standard tests, and if you just uncheck the toolbar during the installation process, you practically won’t have any problems with its advertisements.
Once you start using 3rd party protection, Windows Defender will automatically disable all of its functions and stop working. The program is basically designed to get out of your way. But if you decide to uninstall your 3rd party antivirus, the Defender will re-enable itself, and everything will go back to normal.
Just keep in mind, whatever program you choose, you’ll never have complete protection per se. if you’re constantly installing harmful programs, you’re going to get in a lot of trouble, at some point in time. Good security habits are just as important as your protection software, so don’t use an antivirus as an excuse to be completely irresponsible. By Thomas Milva
Even though Thomas has been working in information security for four years, he knows he’s still got a lot to learn. He extensively talks about his niche in his articles on wefollowtech.com. He is 28 and at the present living in Baton Rouge, mainly working from home, which is why he loves to be in the nature whenever the opportunity arises.