BitDefender, Avast come out on top in antivirus protection tests

BitDefender came out on top as the most effective antivirus product at blocking computer viruses and malware and Avast performed the best of free antivirus software in a set on independently conducted tests released this week.

Austria-based AV Comparitives is a not-for-profit organization that conducts anti-virus software tests and releases the results publicly. Its most recent “real-world” protection test covered the period from March to June and examines 21 software products from security vendors. Familiar names in the security industry are included in the test, such as McAfee’s Internet Security and Sophos’ Endpoint Security. Products are tested with their default settings, by automatically visiting 100 different URLs every day. The tests are done on real PCs connected live to the Internet.

Overall results for March-June ‘real world’ tests by AV Comparatives.

At the end of three months of testing, the security software products varied from blocking 90.9 per cent of all malicious files (Webroot) to the top end of blocking 99.6 per cent (BitDefender). Avast was the top-performing free software at 98.4 per cent protection rate, followed in that category by Panda’s Cloud Security at 97.1 per cent protection rates. Many of the free software products outperformed paid-for products from McAfee and other vendors.

The results are good news for consumers, as the free software proves to be just as good if not better than the paid-for costs. Even better, it seems that no matter what antivirus product you choose, you’ll at least be protected nine times out of 10 in a worst-case-scenario.

But businesses might have to consider a bit more carefully what antivirus products they’ll use. Many of the free products available for consumers only allow one licence for personal use, and charge for a multi-user commercial scenario. Some security vendors like AVG and Microsoft do allow for more than one user on a free install of security products.

Aside from protection against security threats, businesses may also want to consider how running this software affects their PC performance. Choosing one product that provides slightly better protection than another won’t result in a good user experience if it slows down your computer as a result. AV Comparitives and Prague-based AV-Test provide independent tests on system performance impact in addition to threat detection.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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