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The best consumer antivirus products of 2016 are Avira and Norton, test labs say

Mark Hachman | Feb. 8, 2017
Symantec, however, held out on AV-Comparatives again.

AV-Comparatives also broke down the winners by category, allowing you to parse which antivirus product to buy based upon what’s important to you. We’d suggest the Real-world Protection Tests, whose top award went to Bitdefender and its 99.9-percent malware block rate. Note, though, that other vendors do just as well in blocking malware—Trend Micro, for example, also blocked 99.9 percent of all tested malware samples. AV-Comparatives didn’t rate them as favorably, however, due to the relatively high number of false positives—legitimate software detected as malware. In that case, Trend Micro reported 67 false positives, while BitDefender reported zero. Each of those 67 cases would have required your manual intervention to “whitelist” the innocent software.

Symantec snubs AV-Comparatives, again

That fact that Symantec was once again excluded from AV-Comparatives’ testing isn’t unusual. Since 2012, Symantec has refused to submit its code to AV-Comparatives. Though Symantec didn’t offer PCWorld a statement by press time, the company told users in 2012 that AV-Comparatives didn’t offer a test that evaluated Norton’s real-world protection capabilities.

“Our philosophy is to participate in tests that have high relevance and meaning for consumers, and most accurately align with their real-world need for comprehensive protection and machine cleanup from evolving online threats,” the company said then.

For its part, AV-Test highlighted the best products in various categories. AV-Test awarded Norton the crown with its Best Protection award for consumers, but singled out Kaspersky for its Best Performance award and Best Usability awards. Avira, however, was named as the Best Repair Software if your PC is already infected. 

AV-test also published a more granular look at its findings on its website. In Windows 10, for example, the firm found that Avira, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Quick Heal, and Trend Micro offered the best protection. The firm even tested antimalware on older operating systems, including Windows 7.

av test windows 10 tests’s ratings for various antimalware products under Windows 10. Note that you can drill down for more detailed findings within each product on AV-Test’s site.

With literally dozens of antivirus products to choose from, it can be a struggle to figure out which will actually secure your PC. It’s also a moving target: Malware evolves, and so do the methods to combat it. But if you want to know what the best antimalware software is out there right now, this is one of the few times that question can be answered pretty definitively.


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