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Independent comparisons of anti-malware software


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#1 CompuWow

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 02:47 PM

Hi all. I just began taking a look at several sites (links below) which claim to provide independent comparisons of anti-virus and anti-malware programs for Windows, such as F-Secure, Essentials, Kaspersky, etc.

I have various questions:

1. Can anyone comment on the quality and trustworthiness of the third-party sites listed below? I'm looking for something reputable.
2. Do you recommend any additional sites or organizations that generate comparison reports similar to these?
3. What sorts of metrics should we look for? For example, I very much liked learning about which anti-spyware programs are able to best protect themselves from tampering.

http://www.anti-malware-test.com/
http://av-comparatives.org/
http://www.pcsecuritylabs.net/
http://www.nsslabs.com/
http://www.virusbtn.com/vb100/

I especially welcome input from individuals who are experts in this field. Thanks!

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#2 quietman7

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 05:16 PM

These types of comparative testing results will vary depending on who is doing the testing, what they are testing for, what versions of anti-virus software is being tested, etc. There are no universally predefined set of standards/criteria for testing and each test will yield different results. Thus, you need to look for detailed information about how the tests were conducted, the procedures used, and data results. Read Anti-virus Testing Websites: An overview of testing sites

Choosing an anti-virus is a matter of personal preference, your technical ability and experience, features offered, the amount of resources utilized, how it may affect system performance and what will work best for your system. Other factors to consider include effectiveness, user friendliness, ease of updating, ease of installation and removal. A particular anti-virus that works well for one person may not work as well for another. You may need to experiment and find the one most suitable for your use and your system. There is no universal "one size fits all" solution that works for everyone. Another factor to consider is whether you want to use a paid for product or free alternative. For more specific information to consider, please read Choosing Your Anti-virus Software.
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#3 Didier Stevens

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 05:25 PM

I've known AV Comparatives and Virus Bulletin for some time, they have a good reputation in the industry.

Take also a look at EICAR.org, they don't do tests, but they started a workgroup to define and standardize testing (see their position paper).

As to what metrics you want, it depends on what you need from an AV product.
Do you need high detection rates (true-positives), low performance impact, or low false-positive rates, ... ?
For example, on mission-critical Windows server, one would not use an AV with heuristic where a false-positive on a critical OS-file would take down your server.

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