[SECURITY] AntiVirus Test Results
The Grammy Awards are over; the Oscars will be passed out on February 26. Between these two pop culture love-fests lies one for us geeks: the annual awards for antivirus programs. The envelopes, please…
AntiVirus Testing Labs Report Results
Two non-profit test labs spend all year testing programs submitted by vendors. AV-Comparatives publishes a 127-page report analyzing 21 antivirus programs. AV-Test lists 12 award winners on a single Web page.
Not far from the Black Horse Pub in Innsbruck, Austria, computer scientists at AV-Comparatives endlessly subject anti-malware programs to six tests of real-world protection. Each program is evaluated based on known malware file detection, performance, heuristic/behavior detection, false alarms, and malware removal. You can read descriptions of the tests, or view the summary report.
Two tests are repeated in the spring and fall, for a total of eight test sessions. Different weights are assigned to the tests’ results and a total score is calculated. A Product of the Year is then named, and several “Top Rated” products receive recognition as well. Gold, silver, and bronze “medals” are also awarded in each of the six test categories.
It should be noted that there is less than one percent’s difference between the scores of all the Top Rated programs and the Product of the Year. This should come as no surprise because participation in the AV-Comparatives tests is entirely voluntary, just like the Olympics. Unless you’re very, very good, you’re not going to enter the game.
White Lab Coats Are Optional
Just six hours to the north, in the high-tech city of Magdeburg, Germany, you'll find the headquarters of the AV-Test Institute. A team of skilled technicians clad in light blue dress shirts tests each product's ability to protect against malware; its impact on the performance of a host computer; its ability to repair infected files; and its usability (false positives). AV-Test also tests Android security products on mobile devices.
Norton Security won the Best Protection award for 2015. Bitdefender and Kaspersky tied for the lowest impact on Performance. Kaspersky and Avira produced the fewest false positives, making them the most usable products. Avira and Kaspersky were also tied in the Repair category; Avira’s Antivirus Pro suite and Kaspersky’s Virus Removal Tool were equally good at removing malware and repairing the damage they caused to Windows systems.
Bitdefender Mobile Security proved to be the Best Android Security Product of 2015 based on all scores in six tests throughout the year. Sophos Mobile Security took top prize for protecting Android devices from malware.
All of the winners are listed on the AV-Test Awards page, but you may find it more instructive to visit this page and view the latest test results for your specific Windows version. You'll also find links on that page to the results of AV-Test's examination of Mac OS and Android security programs.
Should You Make a Switch?
While these tests and awards are useful, I wish someone would test other aspects of anti-malware software. Since last June, researchers have found critical flaws in a number of antimalware programs that would enable an attacker to hack the antimalware program itself, and take over control of the machine it protects. In the “usability” department, I would like to see points deducted from products that annoy me with popups pushing upgrades or add-ons.
Oh, and products that deliberately disable other products’ security for their own aggrandizement should be condemned; I’m looking at you, AVG.
As I mentioned above, vendors must volunteer for these tests. So if you don't see your Internet security program listed in the AV Comparatives or AV-Test results, it's because they chose not to participate. Some vendors submitted the free version of their anti-virus tool, and others had the paid version tested. And the differences between the winners were slim. Based on these reports, are you satisfied with the anti-malware protection you have now, or will you consider switching?
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 19 Feb 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [SECURITY] AntiVirus Test Results (Posted: 19 Feb 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved