4 Places To Find Up-To-Date Antivirus Test Results Online
Do you know how effective your antivirus programs is? A variety of
organizations regularly compare antivirus programs, throwing a large amount
of malware samples at them, seeing how they perform, and ranking them in
comparison to each other.
It would be very time-consuming to test 30 different antivirus programs in
virtual machines with a large amount of malware samples
yourself, which is why these test results are so useful.
1. West Coast Labs
West Coast Labs provides
test results for popular free antivirus products: A link to the site is
Microsoft Security Essentials, Avira, Avast, AVG, and PC Tools. These
antivirus programs are tested against a stream of newly-collected malware
samples gathered 24/7. The real-time nature of the results is unique. Other
organizations put together new test results monthly – or even less often.
2. Virus Bulletin
Virus Bulletin magazine regularly tests antivirus products. Products that
detect all virus samples with no false positives receive the VB100 award. To
see how an antivirus program is doing, you can look at a variety of reports,
including a chart that averages performance over the last four tests, found
and a summary of the last
five tests, found here.
The products at the top of the chart are doing fairly well, while you’re
probably better off avoiding the products that are consistently at the
AV-Comparatives regularly performs a variety of tests, including real-world
protection tests, file detection tests, and malware removal tests. The
results of these tests are
published on their
website, found here.
For a quick look at how different antivirus programs are doing, you can view
a chart of real world test results here:
Iif using a screenreader, press the letter h once when arriving at the above
link to reach the start of the results.
Or read the
summary report found here.
If using a screenreader, press the letter h once to land on this summary.
This report is published in December of each year and summarizes how the
security products performed in tests over the previous
4. AV Test
AV Test performs regular tests of antivirus programs, ranking their ability
to protect a
computer, how well they repair infections, and their
usability (which includes how much they slow down your computer). The
test results found here:
Screenreaders sould press the letter h to move through headings when
reaching the above link.
Results display how well an antivirus performed on different versions of
Windows, although no Windows 8 test results are available yet.
You don’t necessarily have to switch antivirus products if your program
isn’t at the very top of the charts – these results change from month to
month, anyway – but these test results can give you an idea of how well your
antivirus is performing. If you’re using one of the products that’s
consistently at the bottom of the charts, you’ll probably want to switch.
While these tests may not be perfect, they’re the best thing we have for
evaluating how effective antivirus programs actually are.
Got Feedback? Join the discussion at
SHOW ARCHIVED READER COMMENTS
1.November 24, 2012
Shouldn’t Virus Total be on this list? In a way, it’s a good indication of
what catches what. I keep a vault of old viruses and sometimes I’ll analyze
them with Virus Total to see which antivirus can detect these.
You’d be surprised. 5 year old virus, gets detected by only a 3rd of
2.November 24, 2012
Read customer reviews before switching av software. I almost switched to
bitdefender based on the information above, but reading customer reviews
pushed me back. Words like “poor east european company”, “bad customer
service”, “slowing computer”, “deleting personal files in safebox” etc.
expose the other side of the protection.
3.November 24, 2012
You gys know ths aeticle shows up twice in the RSS feed, right?
4.November 24, 2012
@Bobby – VT is good, but scans a target on demand using multiple engines.
These are all overall results comparing the engines.
Re old viruses: years ago I ran my own tests with ~100 floppy & doc viruses
I’d collected at work and found the same thing. I asked my McAfee rep about
it and they responded, “We remove old and inactive virus signatures from our
I’d assume the same thing is still happening – because after all, no _ever_
restores old files from backup tapes, do they?
@KeepR: I completely agree, but also remember that there are a few users are
either morons or trolls. A lot of good comments with only a few complaints –
examine those complains Very Carefully to make sure they’re accurate. OTOH,
discard a few of the “Best Ever” glowing reports as well.
5.November 24, 2012
There is absolutely no need to pay for antivirus protection.
With free offerings such as Microsoft Security Essentials (Microsoft finally
steps up to the plate to better protect their O.S.) AVG, Avast, and Panda
Cloud you can put your wallet away.
6.November 25, 2012
2001-2007 I used AVG only got few viruses, only real pain was downloading
new version, removing old version, installing new version.Then talking a few
friends thru the same process over the phone. grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..
that really was painful
2007- got new computer with Vista and issues with AVG. Avast was one of few
that would work and sounded most user friendly.
Avast gave me no problems. After a period of time, a newer version was
released. Only way I knew was with a popup saying my Avast Program engine
I checked and sure enogh, Avast installed its’ own new version and removed
old. I fell in love.
The next time my friends called about updating AVG, I talked them thru the
switch and none of us have looked back.
7.November 25, 2012
I agree with you, Jane. Also a former AVG user with all the same issues.
Switched to Avast & am so glad I did. Very user friendly and simple to use.
8.November 25, 2012
I clicked on West Coast Labs . Real Time Tets and this is what I got..
To read the full review get the May 2011 issue of PC & Tech Authority on
sale from April 6.
MAY 2011??? Real time tests? give me a break.
9.November 25, 2012
Another VERY useful article from Mr Hoffman. Plus it’s nice to have the
professional recommendations I have been making for years vindicated. I
agree with Jane, above, on AVG. It used to be my number one recommendation,
until Avast came out and was much simpler and caused me much fewer support
phone calls. I have now personally installed either Avast or Security
Essentials on over 800 client and/or friend machines in the past 5 years. I
almost never touch a machine without doing so.
The deciding factor between the 2 is simple: If the client is savvy enough
not to get sucked into the paid version of Avast, (or well off enough to
afford it, good companies do deserve some support!) I install Avast, first
choice. Paid Avast is also installed on all the servers I admin.
If the above conditions are not present, (fixed income elderly clients who
barely know which mouse button to use, for instance) I install Security
I have seen both products fail to prevent virus or malware infection, sure.
But damn rarely. And usually only when someone insists on installing some
crap even when they are warned.
10.November 27, 2012
Having been in the business for 18 yrs now over 90% of my virus calls are
with computers that have one of these free programs on it. being cheap on
line these days is not worth it.Just keep all your important data pics and
such back-up. I am great-full for such articles. It helps everyone become a
little wiser. Just remember you get what you pay for, always have and always
11.November 28, 2012
I have my own business as well and most of my virus calls are people running
MS Essentials, or some other free AV. (Fixed a Win 7 with MS Essentials last
night that was so infectected, couldn’t use the machine.) That service call
cost them what a paid product would have cost.
12.January 16, 2013
Ran and Ron must sell anti-virus programs as the 10 years that I’ve had a
computer I never got a virus and all I use are the free programs mentioned
Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He’s as
at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry.
Connect with him on
* Published 11/24/12
* 15,402 Views
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