Microsoft acknowledged poor test results of its Onecare antivirus software, but promised it would do better by paying more attention to malware actually in the wild.
"The recent detection numbers were not stellar," Jimmy Kuo, a member of the Microsoft security research and response team, says in a company blog
"We missed capturing a VB100 [Virus Bulletin 100] in the last test because we missed one virus. As a result, we have adopted new methodologies to ... look more closely at families of viruses that have been found to be 'in the wild,' [those] found actively spreading among users."
Last month, Virus Bulletin, a UK-based publication whose VB100 tests are considered one of the antivirus industry's benchmarks, put 15 Vista security programs up against January's Wildlist, a master list of all viruses, worms, Trojans and other on-the-loose malware. Five titles failed the test, including Microsoft's Windows Live Onecare 1.5.
"We will keep on working to acquire the VB100 Award each time we are tested by Virus Bulletin," promised Kuo.
Although he didn't specify all the steps Microsoft would take to remedy Onecare's poor performance, Kuo says that the company's developers would come up with virus signatures able to detect entire families of malware, something security-specific vendors have been doing for years. Kuo also says Microsoft would put more resources into identifying what he called "truly important malware."
Windows Live Onecare's skills have been called into question by other tests in recent weeks. Earlier this month AV Comparatives, a nonprofit site that pits the most popular antivirus products against nearly half a million pieces of malware, placed Onecare last in a list of 17 programs.
"You will see our results gradually and steadily increase until they are on par with the other majors in this arena," pledged Kuo.