Antivirus products are, in my opinion, a lot like insurance– a necessary evil. These days, I tend to rely mostly on the built-in Microsoft Defender which does a good enough job for me and, as the latest results from AV-Test illustrate, will also do a very good job for most users. Some people don’t put much store in lab test results but, regardless, I always find them an interesting read.
And, if you read on, I think you might get at least one surprise.
According to the latest lab test results from the well respected AV-Test, the following products are the top-rated antivirus products, scoring a perfect 6 out of 6 across all three areas:
- Protection: Combined protection against zero-day attacks and prevalent malware
- Performance: Impact on system responsiveness and overall performance
- Usability: Numbers of false positives
Very close seconds, still rating 6 out of 6 for protection and just dropping a mere .5 of a point behind the top rating products are:
The following products are rated 5.5 out of 6 for protection and scored a perfect 6 out of 6 for both Performance and Usability:
As you can see, there is very little to pick between these top-ranked products, and it’s interesting to note that Microsoft Defender is the only free antivirus among this group. So, what about those antivirus products that didn’t quite manage the top ranking? The products in the following group were a tad unlucky to just miss out on the top ranking by the barest of margins, all rating 6 out of 6 for protection (with the exception of McAfee which rated 5.5 out of 6) and just dropping .5 of a point here and there in other areas:
Avast, the only other free antivirus tested, sits in the above group with a perfect score for protection. Now for the also-rans– these products still managed to gain certification but with the lowest scores:
Note Malwarebytes Premium’s 4.5 out of 6 for Protection, not a good result. Surprisingly, it was Malwarebytes’ comparatively poor performance against zero-day attacks that dragged this score down. Malwarebytes’ rating of 4 out of 6 for Performance is also comparatively poor and is the lowest score in this area out of all the products tested. Meaning that running Malwarebytes Premium will have a more negative impact on system performance than the average.
- As mentioned earlier, with the possible exception of the bottom group, there is very little to pick between these antivirus products and any will do a good job
- These latest test results tend to confirm that Microsoft’s built-in antivirus has improved out of sight and is now right up there, competing with even the premium antivirus products
- Products that were submitted for testing but apparently failed to meet the certification standard include: Baidu, Comodo, Emsisoft, ESET, Fortinet, Panda, Sophos, and Webroot.