Is Your AntiVirus Getting a Bad RAP?

Category: Anti-Virus

One antivirus program shattered two records in the latest VB100 antivirus protection test. Read on to learn which program dominated a field of 35 competitors to earn the “best overall protection” honors and the highest test score ever recorded in the “proactive detection” category...

VB100 and the RAP Test

The VB100 is a torture test for antivirus programs conducted by The Virus Bulletin publishing and security testing house. Developers voluntarily submit their antivirus software to be run through a rigorous suite of effectiveness and performance tests. (Seldom are there actually 100 candidates, but VB35 just doesn’t have the same cachet as VB100.)

In the VB100 Reactive and Proactive (RAP) test parlance, "reactive testing" indicates how well a security tool scored at detecting known threats, or viruses currently known to exist. The "proactive testing" portion indicates the tool's ability to detect previously unknown and zero-day threats. Proactive detection is more difficult, of course, because it requires more than just checking the signature of a new file against a database of known malware samples. The behavior of the program must be taken into account.

VB100 and the RAP Test

PC Matic Home Security by PC Pitstop turned some heads by scoring a 95.8% overall in the VB100 RAP test, and a highest-ever score of 92.0% in the PROactive portion. The next highest score on the reactive test was 87.8%, and average score was 78.9%.

To see how your anti-virus program scored on the RAP tests, see the VB100 Results Table. Scroll down past the first seven tables, and you'll reach the "Reactive and Proactive (RAP) Tests" table. The last three columns in that table display the Reactive, Proactive, and Weighted Average (RAP) numbers. To achieve VB100 certification, a product must detect 100% of malware samples listed by the WildList Organization, and not generate any false positives in the process.

Computer Security at What Price?

For more information on how antivirus software works, signature-based detection, and behavioral analysis, see my related article How Does Antivirus Software Work?

PC Matic is not just anti-malware. It’s actually a PC maintenance toolkit, akin to Advanced System Care. In addition to zapping malware, it defragments drives; updates drivers; cleans and defrags the registry; fixes operating system vulnerabilities; optimizes Internet speed; and tweaks one’s system in a host of other ways. (Rumors that it will butter your toast and shampoo your dog appear to be unfounded.)

Although PC Matic scored “best overall protection” honors in the Reactive And Proactive (RAP) malware detection portions of the VB100 test, that achievement came at a cost that some users may be unwilling to pay.

PC Matic, unlike any anti-malware program I have ever seen, uses a combined blacklist and “whitelisting” approach to keep computers malware-free. Programs on the blacklist are blocked and quarantined. Only programs that are on the white (good) list are allowed to run. For over three years, PC Matic and its users have been adding software to the white list maintained on PC Pitstop’s servers.

So most of the commonly used, good software should be “pre-approved” for you. However, the VB100 test found that PC Matic generated nearly a thousand false positives (FPs) out of about a million files thrown at it. Executable files from trusted vendors such as HP, Lexmark, Microsoft, Oracle, and others were wrongly flagged as malware and prevented from running. Only two other products had false positives, and those were Baidu (1 FP) and Msecure (2 FPs).

But that’s not a problem for home users, says the CEO of PC Pitstop, because most of the false positives occurred on enterprise (business) software that home users don’t have on their systems. False positives may be a bigger problem for people who use “enterprise” software on their home or mobile computers.

Despite its outstanding scores on the RAP portion of the test, PC Matic failed to win VB100 certification this time. That’s because of the false positives and failure to detect a few malware programs on the WildList. But CEO Rob Cheng anticipates that PC Matic will resolve those problems and score even better on the next VB100 test to be conducted in September.

How did your computer security software do in the VB100 RAP tests? Have you tried PC Matic? Any problems with false positives? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Is Your AntiVirus Getting a Bad RAP?"

Posted by:

bb
05 Aug 2014

Hmmm. Interesting. They didn't include Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) otherwise known as Windows Defender in Windows 8. The corporate Microsoft AV, "Forefront" appears to be tested, but not MSE.
Not that MSE is great, but Microsoft is the only company that monitors all Windows computers, regardless of installed AV, through the monthly Malicious Software Removal Tool. Provided, of course that Windows updates are enabled.


Posted by:

Cho
05 Aug 2014

Ouch! Those Tables are like drinking from a fire hydrant.. Please, some adult leadership here Bob?
For us Mortals...
Didn't you just have an Article about changing from Avast to Ast ? What do we Homies want to use now?


Posted by:

Mac 'n' Cheese
05 Aug 2014

As bb pointed out, Microsoft Security Essentials isn't listed, nor are many other name-brand AV products. I'm guessing the reason they're not there is hidden in plain sight in Bob's opening paragraph: Candidates for evaluation are voluntarily submitted by the developers.

There could be many reasons why a developer chooses not to submit its product(s):

1. Must they pay a fee? I don't know.

2. A developer may feel the tests aren't relevant or valid for whatever reason.

3. A developer may not have made changes to its product's engine since the last test was run.

4. A developer may have had a poor showing on a previous test.

5. Since the Virus Bulletin program is not widely publicized, a developer may simply feel it's not worth the bother.

6. There could be another reason a developer hasn't submitted its product. That reason might or might not be self-serving.


Posted by:

Mike
05 Aug 2014

Hmmm... no sign of Norton/Symantec offerings in the lists and tables. Strange.

EDITOR'S NOTE : That means they chose not to participate.


Posted by:

Jon
05 Aug 2014

Confession time......

I am not a computer expert...... despite the fact I first used computers in 1980 (1975 if you count playing with a friend's Comodore Pet).

I have used PC Matic for years and it works for all the stuff excluding anti-virus.

The only reason I can't vouch for the anti-virus is because I've only got rid of Kaspersky a few months ago and turned on Super Shield. So far it works.

As far as false positives are concerned ta-rah (trumpets sound) you can add literally anything, including Mr Bad's Bad Bad phishing program from Badland, to your local whitelist. Problem fixed?

The only program to avoid being cured by adding to the whitelist so far is the gadjets for windows 8 which it just will not allow to load (OK, slight risk but I only use the basics and it makes me feel knowlegable and impresses herslf!) I am sure that when I get of my fat ^%£$ and email support they will tell me what to do very quickly.

I am very frugal, being Welsh, but believe that every penny to PC Matic is well spent.

One trick is not to auto renew or renew before expiry - the price goes through the floor very quickly by email - I think we bought at 30% discount just before getting the 50% offer this year - RATS!

All the best,

Jon

P.S. Fix-Me-Stick is a good standby for elderly aunts whose computers have established virus colonies planning to take over the world - It worked with instructions from us by email and phone over 6000 miles!


Posted by:

hammondmike
05 Aug 2014

How much did those "certified" companies pay to have their programs "certified"??? PC Pitstop, Avast!, and several other programs rated higher than many of those "certified" programs, but were not "certified VB 100". Is there a truly unbiased testing agency out there???

EDITOR'S NOTE : there's no indication of bias here. If you read the detailed results page, you'll see why those programs did not achieve the certification in this round of testing.


Posted by:

Wes
05 Aug 2014

Couldn't help but notice that Maleware Bytes didn't bother to send their stuff to be tested ... AGAIN!

This is not good for me as I use their stuff.


Posted by:

John
05 Aug 2014

interesting data. I have been using AVG free. But recently i noticed my system was REALLY slowing. What i found was the AVG Toolbar was killing my machine. Well the whole of AVG has been removed from my PC now.


Posted by:

Doc
05 Aug 2014

Interesting, though wonder why MBAM (free or paid) was not tested and Avast free was. Would there be a reason they would not submit for testing? (short reply request to last question please).


Posted by:

Hank
05 Aug 2014

I've been using Norton 360 for years and I'm curious to know why it wasn't included in the test?
I find it easy to use and it seems reliable, but it is expensive though and it would be nice to see how it compares to other products. Come to think of it, I did not see McAfee either, what's up with that?

EDITOR'S NOTE : Participation in the testing is voluntary, vendors must contact VB100 if they wish to have their products tested.


Posted by:

Bob K
06 Aug 2014

It is my understanding that Maleware Bytes, is meant to be used in conjunction with a virus detection program.


Posted by:

Billy
06 Aug 2014

I have been using Norton since the 'get-go'. Never failed me, no reason to look else ware.


Posted by:

MmeMoxie
06 Aug 2014

For those who have wondered by Malwarebytes is not listed ... Malwarebytes does not claim to be an Anti-Virus program. Malwarebytes claims to "eliminate" Malware.

As Bob also stated ... This is voluntary testing, by all of the developers. Do I understand all of what was tested??? Heavens, no!!! But, I do get the overall picture and which programs, with VB100 testing, are the most Solid or Stable ... Solid being better than Stable.

What surprised me, was that Avast! did not provide their Avast! Pro or Internet Security or Premium programs, for testing. Listen, I have used Avast! for years and just purchased the Internet Security program, last year. Must admit ... I only get an infection, every now and then, and it is Quarantined, like I want it to be.

What really impressed me the most ... Was the run-down on Bitdefender!!! For 10 years running, they have been "scoring" excellently, with VB100. I was also, very impressed with I ESET NOD 32 Antivirus 7 and may have to re-think, what Anti-Virus program, I plan on using in the future.


Posted by:

Ronnie
06 Aug 2014

I have been using PC Matic for several years and am very pleased with the product. It keeps my system up and running very well. It does occasionally have a false positive but I'm ok with that if it keeps my system clear and free of trouble.


Posted by:

intelligencia
06 Aug 2014


All I can say is that I recently used the ESET online scanner as a "second" opinion as to how my computer is doing in terms of being infection free.
Well! ESET thoroughly SCANNED my computer.
This software did an Outstanding Job!
It even scanned my Archived files and much to my Horror, It discovered that .exe files I hadn't even opened had potentially hazardous malware like OPEN CANDY Lurking within - - YUCK!

Thank You Much ESET!!!
(Now you are part of my Cyber-Defense arsenal)

i


Posted by:

krizski75
06 Aug 2014

I've been using PC Matic for a while (I'm an Evergreen subscriber) and am very pleased. Kudos to Rob and his crew. My Dell runs consistently well and fast and no malware issues.


Posted by:

Sheryl
15 Aug 2014

"AVG is a very reliable participant in our comparatives, and it tends to pass most tests with only the odd problem." AVG scored high and has earned another VB100 award.
I've used AVG for a few yrs on 2 PCs and it seems to work good. I've been considering PC Matic because of the "black" and "white" lists as well as the PC cleanup features.


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