AV-Test.org: Latest anti-virus test results


Before we get to the nitty gritty, I want to re-iterate that these kinds of test results should not be relied on too heavily when making decisions concerning anti-virus software; for starters they are generally testing against a comparatively tiny number of samples – in AV-Test’s case around 100 or so – and these tests cannot possibly accurately replicate actual real-world conditions. That said, I find the results interesting myself because they do at least provide some basis for comparison.

AV-Test.org is an independent organization which regularly tests consumer orientated security software and rubber stamps those achieving a set pass mark. The tests involve 3 categories, each scored on a six-point scale:

  • Protection: gauges the software’s ability to blocks threats.
  • Repair: evaluates how effective the software is at removing malware.
  • Usability: is largely based on numbers of false positives (the more false positives, the lower the score).
  • Eleven points total out of a possible 18 are required to receive AV-Test.org certification.

In its latest round of testing (July/August), for some strange reason AV-Test decided to use XP as the base operating system. Not that is should make any difference, I just find it unusual that they would choose an OS which is in decline over the more current Windows 7. I also find it strange that Avira Free Anti-Virus would be excluded, at least it does not appear in the list of test results… a rather glaring omission.

Anyway, here are the latest results for a selection of the most popular free anti-virus products:

Free Protect Repair Usability Total
ZoneAlarm Free Anti-Virus + Firewall 5.0 5.5 5.5 16
Avast 4.5 5.5 5.0 15
AVG 5.0 4.0 4.5 13.5
Microsoft Security Essentials 2.5 4.5 6.0 13
Panda Cloud 4.0 3.0 4.5 11.5
Lavasoft Ad-Aware 3.5 2.0 5.0 10.5

As you can see, the only one which didn’t meet the pass mark of 11/18 is Lavasoft Ad-Aware, with Panda Cloud just scraping through. These results don’t present any real shocks, although I must admit I was just a tad surprised at ZoneAlarm ranking above Avast.


Here is the same for a selection of the better known commercial anti-virus products:

Commercial Protect Repair Usability Total
Kaspersky Internet Security 6.0 6.0 5.0 17
BitDefender Internet Security 5.5 6.0 5.0 16.5
Avira Internet Security 5.5 5.5 4.0 15
Norton Internet Security 5.5 4.5 5.0 15
McAfee Total Protection 4.0 4.5 4.0 12.5
Eset Smart Security 3.5 3.0 5.5 12
Trend Micro Titanium 4.5 3.5 3.5 11.5

Again, no major shocks – and, if you compare test results between the top free and commercial products, you’ll see there are no significant differences.

If your particular anti-virus software doesn’t appear in the tables above, you can check out the full list of results at AV-Test.org.

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks Jim, as I’m a Kaspersky fan/user. I find these testing results vary all over, depending who’s going the testing and when (before all get the latest and newest suites). Then you’ve got the reviewers, who depend on a proper lively hood, so they walk a tight line when giving one more credit over another. It’s the users who need to speak out, and that’s not all that good for two reasons. One, some have no idea what’s good or what’s lacking. Two, some have problems no matter what software they use, so the current one will get the bad reviews.

    Possible solution. Take a pinch of salt, sprinkle it on whatever your eating, and have yourselves a nice day, Mindblower!

  2. It’s nice to see Zone Alarm actually tested in one of these comparisons; it usually gets forgotten. I’m also pleased to see that even their free setup outperformed as lot of the so-called heavyweight professional suites. I’m disappointed that ZA’s full paid-for suite didn’t get tested; it might have been instructive.

    I was pointed towards ZA a decade ago by an IT Manager at my late wife’s company (she was a mainframe programmer) and have been extremely pleased with it. It works, it’s never missed an infection (though tracking cookies, as usual, only get picked up on a scan) and, in the event you need to remove it, it leaves no trace – unlike some others I’ve seen.

    Usual disclaimer applies, by the way: I have absolutely no connection with Zone Alarm or their parent company CheckPoint Software other than having been a highly satisfied customer for the last ten years or so.