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SOFTWARE

Anti-Virus Software - The Best Security Software To Protect Your PC (Part 3)

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9/17/2013 4:06:26 PM

A historical perspective

By testing the products over a period of three months, we get a good indication of which software is likely to be able to protect your PC over the course of the year. And by looking at previous tests conducted by the Dennis Technology Labs, we can get more information on the relative reputation of the software.

In the test conducted between January and March 2013, Norton Internet Security 2013 came top with a total accuracy rating of 388. Interestingly, Avast Free Antivirus came second, with 381, and Kaspersky came third with 379. Bitdefender wasn’t quite so successful, scoring 355 points.

Norton Internet Security 2013

In October to December 2012, the free products weren’t tested. However, Norton, Kaspersky and ESET got the top three spots, with Bitdefender in fourth place. In July to September 2012, the top three were Kaspersky, then Norton and Bitdefender.

With the same names cropping up repeatedly, it becomes apparent that our top three products here aren’t just the lucky winners of a single test, but were able to consistently protect our PCs over a twelve-month period.

Total accuracy ratings

The total accuracy ratings bring everything together into the graph displayed on the right. Each product’s protection rating is added to its false-positive accuracy, for an overall score with a potential maximum of 400 points. This score is weighted towards security, which is the essential element of an anti-virus program. However, 25 per cent of it is made up of the false-positive ratings, which become particularly relevant when differentiating between the top products.

Trend Micro Internet Security 2013

Trend Micro Internet Security 2013

Top of the group is Kaspersky Internet Security 2013 with 388 points. Kaspersky proved its worth by coming a very close second to Norton in the protection ratings. Despite only coming fourth in the false-positive accuracy tests, there was very little to separate it from the leader. Although it didn’t come top in any one chart, the combined strength of its results makes Kaspersky a powerful security tool to have guarding your PC.

Second place goes to Bitdefender. This did very well in the protection tests, blocking and neutralizing every single threat exposed to it, which is a phenomenal achievement. It only lost points by letting a small number of threats through and only neutralizing them after they’d infected the PC.

It stopped four safe programs, which also brought its score down, but only slightly, because the software it flagged was relatively rare.

Norton Internet Security came third with 381 points. It was the best of the bunch at blocking malware before it reached the PC, which won it first place in the protection ratings once our scoring system penalized Bitdefender’s otherwise faultless performance for neutralizing (rather than defending against) eight of the threats it detected.

Of the free programs, Avast Free Antivirus was the most effective overall. It got the best protection rating of the free products we tested and, although AVG was better when it came to avoiding false positives, the margin was narrow enough to let Avast’s superior protection gain the lead.

Avast Free Antivirus

Avast Free Antivirus

At the bottom of the table, Microsoft Security Essentials scored only 226 points overall. Its false-positive score was perfect, letting every single safe program through. However, this open-door policy also applied to many of the threats we exposed it to, and it only managed to stop 64 of the 100 threats in our test.

AVG AntiVirus Free 2013

·         Price: Free

·         Website: free.avg.com

Avast Free Antivirus7

·         Price: Free

·         Website: www.avast.com

Bitdefender Internet Security 2013

·         Price: $72 (3 PCs)

·         Website: www.bitdefender.co.uk

ESET Smart Security 6

·         Price: $80 (3 PCs)

·         Website: www.eset.co.uk

Kaspersky Internet Security 2013

·         Price: $80 (3 PCs)

·         Website: www.kaspersky.co.uk

McAfee Internet Security 2013

·         Price: $88 (3 PCs)

·         Website: home.mcafee.com

Microsoft Security Essentials

·         Price: Free

·         Website: bit.lv/mse323

Norton Internet Security 2013

·         Price: $80 (3 PCs)

·         Website: uk.norton.com

Trend Micro Internet Security 2013

·         Price: $96 (3 PCs)

·         Website: www.trendmicro.co.uk

Conclusion

The top three security products in this test performed excellently, and fully deserve their awards. Their respective positions were the result of small differences in the levels of protection provided.

We’re awarding Gold to Kaspersky Internet Security 2013, which offered the best balance between solid protection and a good judgment of what software is safe.

Norton Internet Security came third in our final chart but we’re going to give it the Silver Award, because its performance over the year was extremely strong, winning the previous two tests and coming second in the one before.

That leaves Bitdefender with our Bronze Award, because it performed very well, with improving results over the period. We’d be happy to have any of these top three programs protecting our PCs.

In the next few months, security firms will be bringing out 2014 versions of their software, so this is an excellent time to buy boxed copies of the 2013 products, as retailers try to clear their stocks. All security products come as a one-year subscription, so you’ll be automatically upgraded to the latest version when it is released and won’t have to pay anything extra.

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