The Best Antivirus for 2015?
All year long, white-coated geeks at the AV-Comparatives laboratory work in obscurity, torture-testing antivirus software. But once a year they make headlines with their annual report on nearly two dozen antivirus and Internet security suites. Here's their take on the top antivirus programs for this year...
Which AntiVirus Protects You Best?
Okay, I made up the part about the geeks in white lab coats. But the AV-Comparatives report is definitely real. The full report for 2015 runs over 150 pages this year but I have the highlights for you right here:
AV-Comparatives subjects antimalware programs to six tests. Two of them 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.
This year, there was a tie for Product of the Year. Both Kaspersky Internet Security 2015 and Bitdefender Internet Security 2015 scored an Advanced+ award in all tests. But AV-Comparatives decided the tie in favor of Bitdefender, because Kaspersky won their Product of the Year award last year. Makes perfect sense, right? Personally, I go with the one that has the coolest logo.
“Top Rated” runners-up include AVG, Avira, ESET, Emsisoft, F-Secure, and Fortinet. Only three of these vendors offer always-free antivirus-only packages, like Bitdefender. They are AVG Free Antivirus, Avira Free Antivirus, and Fortinet FortiClient. The others offer trial versions that stop working after a period of time until you pay for them.
What About Microsoft and Norton?
AV-Comparatives says, “Microsoft asked to be included in the tests, but to be regarded as a baseline and not as competition to the other products.” Huh? You can draw whatever conclusion you wish from that, but my takeaway is that Microsoft intends their security products (Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7 and Windows Defender for Windows 8) to be good enough for most users, but not necessarily best of breed.
And that stats seem to bear that out. In the detailed "Real World Protection Test" results, Microsoft scored dead last with a protection rate of only 83.5%. Eight products scored 98% or higher. That's why I recommend replacing the Microsoft security tools with a free alternative that DOES go for the gold. (See my list of Free Anti-Virus Programs)
Symantec/Norton products have not appeared in the AV-Comparatives report since the 2011 summary. Here's why: "Symantec only wanted to take part in our public tests if they could choose which of the tests from our yearly public test-series to participate in. As an independent testing organization, we require all vendors to take part in all the basic tests in the series. We do not allow vendors to pick and choose among the core tests. Consequently, Symantec has decided not to submit its products for our public main test-series in 2014."
The Other 134 Pages
I noted that the full AV-Comparatives report is over 150 pages long. Most of what you need to know is in the first 16 pages. The rest is (sometimes tedious) reviews of every program’s user interface. You may find this information helpful if you're trying to decide between two or three options, but there's no need to slog through all of it.
The authors of the report admit that "there is no such thing as the perfect security program, or the best one for all needs and every user." They encourage users to choose not only based on test results, but also on other factors, including price and support. Personally, I find the summary report a bit fluffy, and prefer to dig in to the Real World Protection, File Detection, and Malware Removal test results.
I continue to believe that most users are best served by a free anti-virus program. I switched from AVG to Avast (free version) about a year ago, and will stick with it for now. (See my review of Avast 2015) What's your preferred internet security tool, and why?
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 2 Mar 2015
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
Computer Backup Power - What You Need to Know
The Top Twenty
Is This The End For Crapware?
There's more reader feedback... See all 37 comments for this article.
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- The Best Antivirus for 2015? (Posted: 2 Mar 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved