As a malware protection and firewall built into Windows, Windows Defender may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you are looking for top-notch protection against threats such as spyware and Trojans. Does this built-in tool have enough functionality to protect yourself from them, or should you look elsewhere? Here’s what I discovered during the review.
The Windows Defender Security Center provides basic protection against viruses, Trojans, ransomware and other forms of malware. By default, it’s installed on Windows, so even if you don’t want to install a third-party solution, your system has at least some level of protection against these threats. In addition, the program automatically detects other installed anti-virus systems. This makes it easier to remove old scanners if you want to entrust Windows Defender with exclusive protection against online threats.
Strong support from research laboratories
After testing Windows Defender for three days, I was pleasantly surprised by the richness of the features of this free default tool. I am also not the only one who has this in mind: the independent AV-Test laboratory often classified Defender in its top ten virus detection solutions, and the program achieved an excellent result of malware removal (all my test samples were detected).
One caveat: the tool does not detect and remove many so-called low-risk malware vectors, such as adware, because most users can live with it. While adware can inflate your system with annoying pop-ups, the experience is much less annoying than taking over the system (or stealing your identity) with a piece of ransomware that you have been allowed to free yourself.
Speaking of ransomware, there is also a good integration with the OneDrive cloud storage platform to protect against this ever-growing threat. Users can copy critical personal folders via Defender to OneDrive so that they can still access them if they are blocked by a ransom-demanding virus.
The protection offered by Microsoft includes cloud protection – users also receive protection against both known vulnerabilities for which signatures were created and new threats. There is nothing to argue with.
In addition to protection against viruses and threats, Windows Defender also includes the Windows Defender Firewall with Advanced Security. This tool is not particularly beginner-friendly, but allows you to create and administer comprehensive firewall rules for both inbound and outbound protection. Firewalls are necessary to protect the security of the local network, which is why I was impressed that Microsoft’s tool was so versatile.
There is also protection against phishing, which automatically integrates with the default Microsoft browsers: Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. I tested several known phishing addresses from phishtank.com and they were all successfully marked by the system – unfortunately I couldn’t say the same for Google Chrome, which allowed me to access the same URLs without marking them as suspicious (and yes, I turned on the ” Protect against dangerous sites. “) For those who want to add Defender protection to Chrome, install the Windows Defender Browser Protection plug-in from the Chrome Web Store.
Parental control options with rich functionality
What impressed me was that Defender includes a comprehensive parental control filter. These settings are configured online in the cloud and you can add Windows accounts for family members so that their access can be monitored and controlled by the administrator in the family. In fact, Microsoft even allows you to create special Windows accounts for children, and protection settings will be automatically applied every time you log in and browse the network using Microsoft Edge (you’ll want to block access to other browsers if you have them installed). In addition to the white list and black list functions, administrators can configure time limits and expanded reports on browsing activity.
Ease of use
Windows Defender is pre-installed on every Windows computer, and if no other anti-virus programs are installed, it is automatically turned on. Of course, this means that it does not require installation. The program offers protection immediately after unpacking. Settings are administered in two areas: Windows Defender Security Center, which includes virus scanning, parental controls, a basic firewall and system status dialog boxes, as well as Windows Defender