Antivirus bake-off – Which is Remy and which is Linguini?

(Yes that was a Ratatoullie reference.)

Every six months, an independent group in Germany operating under the banner of AV-Test (not to be confused with AV Comparatives) does extensive testing of antivirus products to see who does best.What I’ve always found amazing is that the detection rates and thus placements seem to change with each test. Sure, there are consistent players at the top and bottom of the list, but a company can go from number one to number four to number two over time, and its accuracy rate can remain near constant. That’s how volatile the AV detection market is.

In its January 08 tests, AV-Test found AVK 2008 from G DATA, a German company, to be the most accurate at virus detection, catching 1,022,418 out of 1,024,381 samples for 99.8 percent accuracy. Right behind it was AntiVir from Avira, another German company, with 99.6 percent accuracy. Number three was Avast! from ALWIL Software in the Czech Republic with 99.4 percent accuracy.

(perhaps the Ratatoullie reference is a mistake…)

Leading off the American firms is Trend Micro with 98.6 percent accuracy, followed by Symantec with 98.3 percent. Microsoft, which performed so poorly last year in an AV Comparatives test, is doing much better with 96.9 percent accuracy.

The biggest letdowns? McAfee with 93.7 percent and Nod32 with 93.1 percent, putting them near the bottom of the major name firms.

In a test to detect 12 different rootkits, F-Secure, Panda, Symantec, and Trend Micro were the only products to catch all 12. AntiVir, Avast,
AVG, Kaspersky, McAfee, Nod32, and
Sophos caught 11 of the 12 and Microsoft caught 10 of the 12 rootkits.

So at this point, Symantec and Trend are the tops among retail products.

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