Microsoft's Windows Live OneCare came in last out of a group of 17 antivirus programs tested against hundreds of thousands of worms, viruses, Trojan horses and other malware, according to an Austrian antivirus researcher.
The AV Comparatives website, which is maintained by Andreas Cleminti, posts quarterly results of tests that pit the top antivirus products against a dynamic list of nearly half a million individual pieces of malware.
Top dog, according to Cleminti's tests, was G Data Security's AVK (AntiVirusKit), which nailed 99.5 percent of the malicious code. Not far behind were AEC's TrustPort AV WS at 99.4 percent, Avira's AntiVir PE Premium at 98.9 percent, MicroWorld's eScan antivirus at 97.9 percent, F-Secure's antivirus at 97.9 percent, and Kaspersky Labs' AV, which stopped 97.9 percent of the malware.
Holding the bottom spot was Windows Live OneCare, the consumer security suite that Microsoft launched last year. OneCare took care of just 82.4 percent of the malware.
Cleminti also tested the 17 products against polymorphic viruses, those which sometimes produce vast numbers of variants as they try to sneak by scanners. "The results of the polymorphic test are of importance because they how flexible an antivirus scan engine is and how good the detection quality of complex viruses is," said Cleminti.
Only Symantec's Norton AntiVirus and Eset's NOD32 antivirus caught every variant of the 12 polymorphic families, he said. In that test, OneCare placed 15th, detecting every version of only two families, and missing seven of the polymorphic families completely.
Cleminti's report is available online.
This is not the first evaluation to give a Microsoft security program a black eye. Last week, for example, Australian security company PC Tools released research that claimed Windows Defender - Microsoft's antispyware title - detected just 46 percent to 53 percent of spyware.
"We are looking closely at the methodology and results of the test to ensure that Windows Live OneCare performs better in future tests," a Microsoft spokesperson said.