Friday, December 30, 2011

The best antivirus for 2012

New model-year security products used to come out in the fall, like new model-year cars. This year the first 2012 antivirus (G Data AntiVirus 2012 ($29.95 direct, 3.5 stars)) turned up way back in May. So far PCMag has reviewed nine antivirus tools explicitly identified as 2012 models, along with several others released during the same period. Which of these recent releases is the best?
Testing the Tools
To evaluate antivirus utilities I rely on hands-on, real-world testing. The malware removal test involves installing each product on a dozen malware-infested virtual machines and challenging it to clean them up. For the malware blocking test I attempt to install the same collection of threats on a clean system protected by the product being tested. These two articles explain how I get from those tests to the figures in the chart that follows: How We Test Malware RemovalHow We Test Malware Blocking.
PCMag test results for 2012 antivirus products
I also refer to reports from major independent antivirus testing labs. The labs have vastly more resources than I do, so they can perform large-scale tests that would take me too long. The chart below specifically lists results for the companies whose 2012 products are rounded up here. For full details on how I interpret these lab results see How We Interpret Antivirus Lab Tests.
 Webroot isn't included in this chart because the current Webroot antivirus is a completely different product from what the labs have been testing.

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