Which Antivirus Software Works Best? Testing Lab Reveals Results

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Byline: Penny Crosman

Antivirus products -- software programs that prevent, detect and remove malware such as computer viruses, spyware, Trojan horses and worms -- are a cornerstone of any bank's security defenses, as well as those of its online and mobile banking customers. Gartner estimates that cyber criminals have stolen more than $3 billion from U.S. banks, businesses and municipalities using financial malware. The Anti-Phishing Working Group says that 39 percent of all computers are infected with financial malware designed to steal personal and account information. As a result, online banking account takeovers are growing at a rate of 150 percent each year, according to research published by the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

But there are hundreds of antivirus products out there, some free and others high-end. AV-Comparatives, an independent testing lab nestled in the mountains of Innsbruck, Austria, has tested 25 antivirus products and declared two to be the best: Bitdefender's and Kaspersky Lab's. (The two companies' products were considered comparable in quality, but Bitdefender was granted the top slot because it hadn't been selected before.) Products from Avast, Avira, BullGuard, Eset, F-Secure and G Data were also found to perform well.

"Bitdefender is very strong, they're a combination of signature-based detection, analytic detection, malware detection and behavior detection," says Peter Stelzhammer, a co-founder of AV-Comparatives. Both Bitdefender and Kaspersky Lab were found to produce low false positive rates, which is important for corporate users. "If you have false positives most of the time, it can cost you more work than an infection," Stelzhammer notes.

The two products also tested well in administration tests: they were found to be easy to deliver to clients and scalable to a large number of users. "Of course, detection is the most important factor," he says. "But these products are also lightweight, they don't impact the system, and they're easy for corporate users to handle."

AV-Comparatives tests Windows, Mac, and mobile-based security software throughout the year. …