Skip to main content

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.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Justin Pot
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Justin's always had a passion for trying out new software, asking questions, and explaining things – tech journalism is the…
These are the best AIO liquid coolers for your PC in 2023
Corsair H100i AIO installed on a CPU.

An all-in-one (AIO) liquid cooler not only guarantees quieter cooling for your CPU compared to a conventional air cooler, but can also facilitate in reducing temperatures to an extent that allows for overclocking. AIOs provide a straightforward method for water-cooling your PC without the hassle of dealing with messy components selection. We also advise considering a liquid cooler, especially if you already own or intend to acquire a high-performance processor like an Intel Core i9-13900K or AMD's Ryzen 7950x.

Most builds call for a 240mm AIO. However, you can go up or down depending on your PC build size or cooling needs, too, with various options available.

Read more
This Alienware gaming PC with an RTX 4090 is $500 off today
Alienware Aurora R15 placed at an angle on a table.

If you're planning to invest in gaming PC deals, you should expect to shell out a significant amount of cash if you want a powerful machine. You have the chance at enjoying huge savings along the way though, through offers like Dell's discount for the Alienware Aurora R15. Instead of the gaming desktop's sticker price of $3,700, you'll only have to pay $3,200 -- it's still not what you'd call affordable, but the $500 in savings will go a long way towards building your setup as you can spend it on monitor deals and video games. You need to push through with the purchase today though, as we're not sure if the offer will still be around tomorrow.

Why you should buy the Alienware Aurora R15 gaming desktop
The Alienware Aurora R15 looks out of this world, but that's not the only reason why the machine is in our list of the best gaming PCs. Inside the stylish exterior are the 13th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card, and 32GB of RAM. With these specifications, not only can you play the best PC games at their highest settings, but you'll also be prepared for all of the best upcoming PC games. When the time comes that you need faster components, the tool-less design of the Alienware Aurora R15 will make it easy to upgrade its RAM and GPU.

Read more
Dell’s cheapest business laptop is 50% off today
Dell Latitude 3420 on a desk hooked up to a monitor.

Not all laptop deals will get you a machine that's designed to keep up with work activities. If you're looking for a business laptop, here's a recommendation -- the Dell Latitude 3420, which is on sale from Dell at 50% off. From its sticker price of $1,244, it will be yours for just $619. It's a steal to purchase this device with $625 in savings, so you wouldn't want to miss this chance. The limited-time offer may end at any moment though, so don't hesitate in completing the transaction if you're interested in this laptop.

Why you should buy the Dell Latitude 3420 laptop
The Dell Latitude 3420 laptop is powered by the 11th-generation Intel Core i3 processor and 8GB of RAM. It's not as fast as the best laptops with the latest generation of processors and more RAM, but it's more than enough for handling daily tasks like creating reports and building presentations. The device, however, ships with Windows 11 Pro in its 256GB SSD, so you'll have access to more of the operating system's features. The Dell Latitude 3420 also comes with a 14-inch Full HD display, for a clear look at the details of the projects that you'll be handling.

Read more