Austria-based security testing organization AV Comparatives (AVC) recently tested 12 high-profile spam filter software products for effectiveness and useability.
Overall, 10 of the products tested blocked more than 90 per cent of the 127,000-plus spam messages sent to the host computer, which ran on Windows 7 64-bit and accessed email using Microsoft Outlook 2013:
1. ESET Smart Security 9.0: 99.96 per cent
2. SuperSpamKiller Pro 6.30: 99.72 per cent
3. G Data Internet Security 2016: 99.41 per cent
4/5. BitDefender Internet Security 2016/F-Secure Internet Security 2016: 98.84 per cent each
6. Kaspersky Internet Security 2016: 97.97 per cent
7. AVG Internet Security 2016: 97.81 per cent
8. Avast Internet Security 2016: 96.71 per cent
9. Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro Security 11.1: 94.71 per cent
10. Symantec Norton Security 22.6: 93.63 per cent
As a baseline, AVC’s researchers used Outlook 2013’s own spam filter, which they found was able to block 89.87 per cent of unwanted messages during the test.
Oddly enough, the two anti-spam programs which blocked the fewest messages, BullGuard Internet Security 16.0, McAfee Internet Security 2016, received some of the highest marks when it came to user experience, with AVC calling BullGuard “very simple to set up” and McAfee “easy to install,” noting that the latter required no additional configuration and provided users with easy access from Outlook.
By contrast, second-place spam blocker SuperSpamKiller Pro required users to access a separate program, which allowed them to access and respond to email but included few other user-friendly features – it could not be used to compose new messages, for example.
For what it’s worth, top blocker ESET received high marks on both counts, with AVC’s testers finding the program’s integration with Outlook “simple but effective.”
Other programs could barely be recommended on either count, with AVC noting that Ad-Aware Pro Security did not provide Outlook integration and had only “minimal configuration options in the program itself.”
Also worth noting is that AVC’s research focused solely on each product’s spam-filtering capabilities, and did not consider other features such as malware detection. Moreover, the organization only tested the consumer versions of each product, acknowledging that enterprise software is typically more functional and that future tests will focus on the programs’ business-centric versions.