How Does Your Security Suite Stack up?

If you use a computer on a regular basis, chances are you are running some sort of anti-malware application. If you aren't then you really should be, as recent studies show that malware is becoming more pervasive and more sophisticated. No operating system (OS) is immune from malware attacks, but Microsoft Windows is the most frequently targeted OS. In an effort to help guide Windows users as to what are the better anti-malware options available, AV-Test just released performance results from 34 of the most recently-available versions of security suites--including a number of 2009 and beta versions as well.

One of the primary expectations of a software security suite is that it will effectively detect malware on demand. The AV-Test folks tested the applications against 1,164,662 malware samples, and the five best performers were:

Malware Detection Rates:
  • Avira Premium Security Suite 2008: 99.8%
  • G Data Internet Security 2009 (Beta): 99.8%
  • WebWasher Gateway 99.7%
  • Ikarus AntiVirus Solution 1.0.89: 99.5%
  • TrustPort WorkStation 99.5%

For the purpose of performance evaluations, AV-Test broke adware and spyware out into a category separate from malware. Using 94,291 samples of adware and spyware, AV-Test found these five applications to have the highest detection success:

      Adware/Spyware Detection Rates:
  • G Data Internet Security 2009 (Beta): 99.8%
  • F-Secure Internet Security 2009: 99.6%
  • WebWasher Gateway 99.2%
  • G Data Internet Security 2008: 99.1%
  • Avira Premium Security Suite 2008: 99.0%

AV-Test also measured how effective the applications were at proactively detecting unknown malware. Instead of providing the actual detection rates for this test, AV-Test broke the test results up into ratings. The best rating a suite could garner is a "very good," which indicated that the software had a 98% or greater success rate at proactive detection. While we would prefer to list only the top five applications here, we don't have the specific data to do so--so instead we are listing all the applications that earned AV-Test's top honors for this test:

      Proactive Detection (listed in alphabetical order):
  • BitDefender Internet Security 2008
  • BitDefender Internet Security 2009 (Beta)
  • Eset Smart Security 3.0
  • F-Secure Internet Security 2008
  • F-Secure Internet Security 2009
  • Fortinet-Gateway 2.81
  • G Data Internet Security 2009 (Beta)
  • Panda Internet Security 2008
  • Panda Internet Security 2009
  • Sophos Security 2.5
  • TrustPort WorkStation
  • WebWasher Gateway

The security suites were also tested to see if they would produce any false positives. Only six applications successfully completed the test without generating any false positives:

      No False Positives (listed in alphabetical order):

  • CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008
  • Eset Smart Security 3.0
  • McAfee Internet Security 2008
  • Symantec Norton Internet Security 2008
  • Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009 (Beta)
  • Windows Live OneCare 2.5.2900.03

Another test conducted was to measure scan speed. Five applications performed malware scans speedily enough to earn a rating of "very good":

      Fast malware scans (listed in alphabetical order):
  • Avira Premium Security Suite 2008
  • Eset Smart Security 3.0
  • K7 Total Security 9.0
  • Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009 (Beta)
  • WebWasher Gateway

Of all the applications tested, the one that had the highest consistent scores across the most categories was WebWasher Gateway WebWasher was not perfect, however, as it generated between three and four false positives. Other applications that impressed us based on how they did on the malware on demand, adware/spyware on demand, and proactive detection tests are F-Secure Internet Security 2008, F-Secure Internet Security 2009, G Data Internet Security 2009 (Beta), and TrustPort WorkStation

Only two applications managed to managed to score "very poor" on both the malware on demand and adware/spyware on demand tests: CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2008 and Rising Internet Security 2008.
Tags:  security, suit, SEC, ui, AC, K, DOE