PC Mag has an article on the latest anti-malware tests by NSS Labs. For this test NSS Labs turned off Microsoft’s SmartScreen because it was too effective, blocking 98-100% of malware. SmartScreen, being in the OS now, works independent of browser or anti-malware software installed. So NSS Labs decided to turn it off so they could test the Anti-Malware products alone.
Ok, but there is a BIG BUT here. 3rd Party anti-malware products come with their own URL filtering and whitelisting capabilities. Microsoft considers SmartScreen part of their overall protection suite and has no reason to duplicate its functionality in MSE/Defender. So turning off SmartScreen is the same as going into a 3rd party product and disabling its similar features.
Does NSS Labs disable the SmartScreen-equivalent features in the other anti-malware products it tests? I don’t think so. The only anti-malware that is tested with its URL filtering and whitelisting capabilities disabled are Microsoft Security Essentials/Windows Defender. And they try to call this a fair comparison of anti-malware products?
At least we now know the true protection level of using the Microsoft Protection Suite. Combine SmartScreen and MSE (or Windows Defender) and you get about 100% protection. They should just test and report that instead of artificially making the Microsoft offering look bad.