Use Independent Antivirus Ratings Before Buying!!

Antivirus ratings from independent comparisons clearly show some programs work much better than others.

Many purchasers aren't aware that these test rankings exist and are often swayed by product marketing to buy an antivirus which may not give them the best virus protection software available.

Here, I'll let you know who the testing bodies are and which antivirus programs come out on top.

We shouldn't just be looking at one-off performances -- we all want software that is consistently in the top quartile and has continuing development so our software is automatically upgraded with new advances.

In going through this process, here's what we'll cover...

  1. Tips Before Choosing
  2. Security Certification Bodies
  3. Independent Comparative Reviews

1. Some Tips Before Making a Choice

  1. If you don't use your PC for email or very rarely connect to the Internet, you could consider a free antivirus.

    For normal Internet access -- and especially if the computer is also being used for banking, purchasing or business -- it's imperative to get a program with the best antivirus rating.

  2. The AV program that you choose should also match your level of experience of AV software. If you don't have extensive experience, a program for power-users who want to be able to control exactly how the program interacts with their system may not be the best choice.

    For new starters and seasoned users alike, ideal programs are pretty transparent in use but also allow independent control of its features.

  3. Before purchasing your choice, you should first download and install a free trial of the software you're interested in. You can then get a feel for whether you are comfortable with the use of the program and check whether it slows your computer due to any quirks on your system.

2. Antivirus Ratings... Security Certification Bodies

Little known to the general consumer is the fact that there are a number of organizations that test and certify antivirus software and some of these results are available to the surfing public! For instance...

  • ICSA Labs is an independent division of Verizon and the security industry's central authority for research, intelligence and certification testing of products. It certifies over 95% of the installed base of anti-virus products in the world today but also tests other products, such as anti-spyware and firewalls.

    AV products that have been certified can be viewed at ICSA Labs. Products are not ranked but are certified if they have passed the rigorous testing matrix.

  • West Coast Labs test security products and certify with a Checkmark or Checkmark Platinum Award. You can view the products with an award at West Coast Labs Checkmark Awards.
  • Virus Bulletintest and certify information security products and award antivirus products with a VB100 award. You can view who has passed or failed at Virus Bulletin VB100 Awards.
  • CheckVir and TUV also certify AV products, but their test results are not made available to the general public.

Any AV software we install should have at least one of these certifications.

3. Antivirus Ratings... Independent Testing and Product Comparison

Personally, I prefer independent organizations that not only test but also compare the performance of AV products to produce antivirus software ratings.

Just imagine not having to rely on the sales pitch provided by marketers or spending hours reading reviews to find out which are the best antivirus ratings!

Well, good news, because the two organizations listed below do just that...


AV-TEST are independent testing facilities in Germany. They test antivirus products for...

  1. Protection -- by installing security software on a non-infected system and examining how they respond to malware threats.
  2. Repair -- evaluating the products' ability to remove active malware and to restore other system changes.
  3. Usability -- assessing warning messages, blockages, false positives during scans and slowing down the computer when the software is in use.

The most recent AV-TEST results showed Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 (with money-back guarantee) and BitDefender were the best Internet Security Suites for protection and repair of malware.

II. AV-Comparatives

AV-Comparatives is an independent body that both tests and compares the performance of the major antivirus products.

'The Real World Protection Tests' evaluate Internet Security Suites' "real-world" protection capabilities with default settings. Their results were similar to AV-TEST, above.

It also compares antivirus software for DOS viruses/malware, Windows viruses, macro viruses, script viruses/malware, worms, Backdoors, Trojans (including keyloggers), other malware, including rootkits, and other OS viruses/malware.

After testing, AV software is classified according to the results as, 'Standard', 'Advanced', or 'Advanced+' -- the best antivirus program being the 'Advanced+'.

There were only 2 antivirus software products to gain the coveted 'Advanced+' award for malware detection and removal...

  1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2013... this link generates a download box for a 30 day free trial.
  2. Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2013...for more details and free trial.

To see the results of the certification and testing bodies, go to Antivirus Ratings -- Best Virus Protection Software


Antivirus Ratings...Supporting Articles

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