Choosing malware protection software just got harder

It goes without saying that protecting your business computers with good anti-virus software remain a vital element of a sensible technology strategy.  The sophistication of threats from phishing attempts, malware and infected websites continues to increase.  As do the negative consequences of being infected.

Until recently there were two main factors:

  1. whether the software protected you; and
  2. that it didn’t slow down your computer too much.

Now there’s a third:  does a government exert undue control over the organisation that developed the software?  Recently Kaspersky, consistently one of the best applications in independent reviews, has been linked to the Russian government.  Other software has been linked to its respective government for example, allegations online that Symantec has shared its source code with the NSA.  Who know’s what is true, it’s impossible to be sure.  What we would say is that the malware threat is real and present whereas the threat from government intervention seems to be more speculative.  So when choosing, it seems sensible to prioritise software with good protection and performance.

PC Pro recently reviewed malware protection software and here’s a table summarising what it found.  For reference we’ve added the country the software organisation is located in.

Software % Detection
(100% is good)
False positives
(small is good)
(small is good)
PC Pro LABS WInner
100% 0 2.1 Romania
BullGuard 100% 8 1.9 UK
Panda (Free)
PC Pro Recommended
100% 3 1.8 Spain
Symanetec 100% 8 1.8 US
PC Pro Recommended
99.7% 0 2.1 Russia
Avira 99.7 1 2.0 Germany
ESET 99.7% 1 1.7 Slovakia
F-Secure 99.7% 38 1.8 Finland
Trend 99.7% 1 2.0 Japan
Avast (free)
PC Pro Recommended
99.0% 3 1.7 Romania
AVG (free) 98.7% 3 1.8 Czech Republic
Microsoft Windows Defender (Free) 98.7% 6 1.7 US
McAfee 97.4% 7 1.9 Romania

Bitdefender has risen to the top again in recent reviews.  100% detection with little impact on performance.  It’s also good on Android phones.  Over the last few years, it’s been less consistent then either Kaspersky or Symantec but right now hard to beat.

Consistently #1 in recent years.  Still recommended in recent reviews.  Allegations of Russian government interference.  Good detection rate, highly customisation and low false positives.

Consistently strong with 100% detection.  Trusted in enterprises, low impact on system performance, highly configurable.