Which AntiVirus Software is Best?
When it comes to antivirus protection, you want the best. But how do you get objective reviews and test results for internet security software? AV-TEST, an independent IT security institute, has tested and certified anti-malware software for over fifteen years. Now, for the first time, AV-TEST has announced awards for the best anti-malware solutions of the year. Read on to get the scoop on which internet security tools are tops...
The AV-TEST Awards Report for 2011
Dozens of products are tested every two months at the AV-TEST labs. To compete for the annual awards, a product must have participated in all of the tests conducted during year. The tests measure a product's ability to protect a system; how well the product repairs infections; and the overall usability of the software. Awards were given in the categories of "home user" and "corporate" security solutions.
BitDefender Internet Security won the Best Protection award in the home user category, while F-Secure Client Security took that honor among corporate products. Kaspersky Internet Security won the Best Repair award for home use, and Kaspersky Endpoint Security was tops among corporate products. The Best Usability award for home users went to ESET SMART Security, and the corresponding corporate award went to Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection.
I should mention that the usability measurement is a bit confusing, as it doesn't refer only to the user interface of the antivirus products being tested. Instead, it measures the number of false positives generated, and the impact of the software on system performance.
It's apparent that you can't get the best of everything in one product. However, BitDefender is in the top two in all three categories (protection, repair, and usability) while Kaspersky is in the top two for all but usability. Personally, I'll take an anti-malware solution that gets the job done over one that has a pretty face, or uses less system resources.
What About Android Malware?
The surging popularity of Android smartphones and tablets has made these devices a new target for the bad guys, and there has been a huge increase in Android malware since Fall 2011. Google's Android Market (recently rebranded as Google Play) is the official source for downloading Android apps, and for the most part, these apps are safe. Amazon app store is another source I consider trustworthy.
Both Google and Amazon make an effort to remove bad actors from their marketplace, but you shouldn't blindly trust any app. If you stick with apps that have lots of downloads and good reviews, you should be fine. Android malware is a much bigger problem in third-party app-stores, such as GetJar, Handmark and Handango. My advice is to steer clear of those alternative Android app markets.
For the first time, AV-TEST tested malware solutions for the Android operating system. That proved a little embarrassing for the institute. Of 41 Android malware solutions, AV-TEST found six that did not detect any of the test malware samples. That finding surprised and drew protests from one of the developers. Upon closer inspection, AV-TEST discovered a bug in its testing software. That was fixed, and the tests were run again. You can read all about the test methodology and detailed results if you're curious.
In summary, ten Android malware solutions were found to detect 90 per cent or more of the test malware samples. They include Avast, Dr. Web, F-Secure, Ikarus, Kaspersky, Lookout, McAfee, MYAndroid Protection/MYMobile Security, NQ Mobile/NetQin and Zoner.
Another 13 products were deemed "very good" for detection rates between 65 and 90 per cent. They are AegisLab, AVG Mobilation, Bitdefender, BullGuard, Comodo, ESET, Norton/Symantec, QuickHeal, Super Security, Total Defense, Trend Micro, Vipre/GFI and Webroot. Some of these products - Bitdefender, ESET, Trend Micro and Vipre- detected more than 88 per cent of malware samples. BluePoint, G Data and Kinetoo detected between 40 and 65 per cent of malware samples.
Yikes. I certainly wouldn't buy a security product that only works 40 to 65 percent of the time. I'm not even keen on a 65 to 90 percent solution. If you're looking for anti-malware protection for your Android smartphone or tablet, I'd strongly advise you to pick one in the 90+ category listed above. Do you have an iPhone or iPad? See my article Mobile Malware: Are You Exposed? to find out if you need malware protection.
AV Comparatives, the other well-known antivirus solution tester, has not released any new reports in 2012 as of this writing. Its product of the year 2011 was Kaspersky, with honorable mentions going to Avira, Bitdefender, ESET, and F-Secure. You can read the 2011 AV Comparatives Summary Report for details.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 22 Mar 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Which AntiVirus Software is Best? (Posted: 22 Mar 2012)
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