NSS Labs, in its report, has revealed that nearly 70% of the anti-virus suites, which were tested, were not able to provide the required protection against known exploits that targeted vulnerabilities listed under CVE-2012-1889 - Microsoft’s XML Core Services and CVE-2012-1875 - Internet Explorer 8.0.
In the report “Can Consumer AV Products Protect Against Critical Microsoft Vulnerabilities?”, the tests “showed that 9 of 13 popular consumer anti-virus products tested failed to provide adequate protection against exploits targeting two recent critical Microsoft vulnerabilities.”
According to the information security testing company default out-of-the-box settings of antivirus suites lack the required capability to protect against malware and these tests highlight those deficiencies.
The vendors would definitely want to argue that these tests cannot be considered to be benchmark tests and that the results don’t provide a glimpse of the strengths of these suites. But, protection against the latest exploits can be one of the decided factors when it comes to buying such products because a) consumers wouldn’t always be keeping their OS patched; b) protection against latest vulnerabilities indicates the proactive approach of security companies.
Only four, Trend Micro, Kaspersky Lab, McAfee and Avast, out of the 13 anti-virus suites were able to offer protection against these exploits when delivered over HTTP and HTTPS. This said, the results shouldn’t influence the buying decisions of consumers as most of the anti-virus suites were able to protect against most common exploits.
Randy Abrams, NSS Labs’ research director said, "The test is not designed to be a comprehensive buyer's guide, but rather to give an idea of why it is important to test products against a variety of protocols and types of attacks."