Kaspersky, Bitdefender, and Avira are the best AV suites out there, according to AV-Test

avtest antivirus windows most effective avira anti virus suite convention
Aleksej Penkov/123rf
If you want the best virus protection out there, Kaspersky, Bitdefender, and Avira are the top three. ThreatTrack and Comodo, meanwhile, are among the worst.

That’s according the latest round of tests by AV Test, an independent IT security institute based in Megdeburg, Germany. The firm’s December 2015 results for Windows 8.1 devices compared 20 different anti-malware programs for protection, performance, and usability.


The results, outlined in the chart above, add findings based on three different ratings:

  • Protection, which rates how effective a given application is at detecting viruses
  • Performance, which rates how much a given application impacts your system while running
  • Usability, which rates how many false positives a given application shows users after testing.

By these metrics, the best possible antivirus will detect nearly all actual malware, will not use up a lot of system resources, and will not see malware where none exists. The chart makes for an interesting overview, but download the complete report and you can dig more into the specifics.

For example: At this point, most applications catch over 99 percent of well-known malware. Many, including Kaspersky and BitDefender, caught absolutely everything. But Comodo was shown to be particularly weak here, catching only 96.1 percent of the known malware that should be easy to spot.

The real difference comes when you get to 0-day malware, which is yet to be documented widely but is possible to spot based on patterns. Nearly half the programs tested caught everything; most caught over 98 percent. ThreatTrack, however, caught a pitiful 78.3 percent. Also weak in this category: Microsoft’s Windows Defender, which is the protection included with Windows right out of the box, and which demonstrated only a 90-percent catch rate.

But there is such a thing as being too zealous: pointing out malware where none exists can confuse users and waste time. AhnLab’s software seems to enjoy falsely labeling legitimate software as malware, with 18 installed programs falsely identified. F-Secure also falsely declared nine legitimate apps as malware. Most programs didn’t do this, however, or only falsely labeled one app.

This all could change, of course — malware is a fast-moving world, and this month’s test results might not stand up next month. That’s why it’s good that AV Test is regularly running these tests, to keep the security companies accountable.


Canada’s winters inspired a startup to warm homes with cryptomining heat waste

Cryptomining may be the key to untold riches and the future of currency, but it’s also an environmental nightmare. Heatmine, thinks it has the answer, but it could mean bolting a mining rig onto every home and business in the country.

Snooze soundly anywhere you lay your head with the best sleeping bags

A proper sleeping bag has the ability to make or break a camping or backpacking trip. Here are our picks for the best sleeping bags on the market to help you choose the correct bag for any type of outdoor adventure.

Want to make one hard drive act like two? Here's how to partition in Windows

If you don't want all of your files stored in one place but only have one drive to work with, partitioning is your best way forward. Here's how to partition a hard drive in Windows 10, step by step.

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Home Theater

Confused about LED vs. LCD TVs? Here's everything you need to know

Our LED vs. LCD TV buying guide explains why these two common types of displays are fundamentally connected, how they differ, what to look for in buying an LED TV, and what's on the horizon for TVs.
Product Review

The Asus ZenBook 14 is a tiny notebook that gets lost in the crowd

The ZenBook 14 aims to be the smallest 14-inch notebook around, and it succeeds thanks to some tiny bezels. Performance and battery life are good, but the notebook lacks a standout feature other than size.

The best MacBook deals for December 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

How to connect AirPods to your MacBook

If you have new AirPods, you may be looking forward to pairing them with your MacBook. Our guide will show you exactly how to connect AirPods to MacBook, what to do if they are already paired with a device, and more.

Hitting ‘Check for updates’ in Windows 10 opts you into beta releases

Users who are careful about keeping their system updated should watch out -- Microsoft revealed this week that clicking the Check for updates button in Windows can opt you in to testing beta code.

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.

Which Macs are compatible with MacOS Mojave?

Is your computer ready for Apple's big Mojave update? Here's what you need to know about MacOS Mojave compatibility, what Macs can successful download Mojave, and the requirements you need to know about.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Change your mouse cursor in Windows with these quick tips

The standard mouse cursor is boring, so change it! With this guide on how to change your mouse cursor in Windows, you can choose to use one of Microsoft's pre-installed cursors or download something a bit more extravagant.