Antivirus software: The verdict

Reviews of the latest security software

Protecting your computer against Trojans, worms and other invisible exploits is a must in today’s tech landscape. But knowing which antivirus software will offer the best protection without the added extras can be as easy as navigating your way through the streets, eyes closed. With hundreds of antivirus programs available, finding the right software is no easy feat.

A few key features to keep in mind include the detection of known and unknown spyware, worms, and other malware, instant notification of malicious threats, scan speed and application extras. To make the task easier Computerworld in the US tested several antivirus solutions to determine which programs offer the best protection against malicious attacks.

G Data AntiVirus 2010

German-made antivirus software, G Data 2010, uses two separate antivirus engines: BitDefender and Avast. Unlike other single engine security programs, G Data’s double engine provides vast coverage with a 99.95 per cent block rate for traditional, signature-based detection of known malware and 99.8 per cent for blocking adware. Tested alongside other antivirus software including Symantec Norton Antivirus, BitDefender AntiVirus and F-Secure AntiVirus, G Data scored the highest in over all protection. However, the software rejected three benign applications from automatic start-up and has an access scan speed of 10.15MB per second.

McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010

McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010 faired well with traditional, signature-based malware detection, but did not live up to antivirus software essentials such as proactive protection and scan speed. Despite differences in the program’s ability to proactively protect against new malware, it scored a 99.9 per cent block rate when tested. VirusScan Plus is said to be relatively easy to use and contains warning pop-ups to notify users of threats, but a few good features and a decent user interface doesn’t outweigh limited critical protection against malicious threats.

Alwil Avast Professional Edition

Alwil Avast Professional Edition scored mid-range results of 97.8 per cent in blocking Trojans, worms, and other malicious threats. It was outperformed, however, by several other programs. And despite a fast scan rate, Avast was less thorough than other programs and did not score well for the quality of its interface.

ESET NOD32

Despite the selection extras available with the ESET NOD32 software, it does not match its competitors when it comes to blocking malware. NOD32 scored a block rate of 94.8 per cent, the lowest percentage compared with other antivirus programs like McAfee VirusScan Plus 2010, Alwil Avast Professional Edition and G Data 2010. While the percentage scored is considered 'decent', NOD32 was outshone by its peers.

Trend Micro Antivirus + Antispyware

Trend Micro Antivirus + Antispyware was noted to have poor malware detection, slow scan speed, and limited task transparency for users. It scored 96.9 per cent in detecting Trojans, spyware, worms and other malware. This was an improvement from the 69.3 per cent it scored last year. On the positive side, Trend did avoid falsely labeling benign files as dangerous and did well disabling malware infections.

F-Secure Anti-Virus 2010

F-Secure Anti-Virus 2010 is reported as being simple to use, and did a reasonable job of blocking malware. It scored a 99.8 per cent performance at blocking rate of known spyware, worms, and other malware and a 99.3 per cent adware block rate. But, despite good percentage scores, F-Secure did not out-perform other anitvirus software available in the market. It does, however, contain a feature that scans Web traffic for potential threats before entering the hard drive.

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