Comparison Test of Free Antivirus Utilities

By bobcat · 20 replies
Apr 12, 2009
  1. The reputable German consumers mag (Stiftung Waren)test, in its latest issue 4/09, publishes the results of extensive tests of the 3 leading free AV utilities: Alwil Avast Home Edition v.4.8, AVG Free Edition v.8.0 and Avira AntiVir Personal v.8.2.

    Here are the somewhat unexpected results:

    Best came out Avast with good detection and use of resources.
    Second was AntiVir with fair detection and very good use of resources.
    Last came AVG with fairly poor detection and good use of resources.

    For completeness, it should be stated that since the start of the tests, AntiVir has brought out a new version 9, claimed improved. Similarly, there is a new AVG 8.5 version.

    As a matter of interest, among the 13 premium Security Suits also tested, which include AV plus Firewall, best came out G Data Internet Security 2009, v.19.1 with very good detection, very good firewall but fairly heavy demand on resources. Those with older systems would do better with the runner up BitDefender Internet Security 2009 v12.0 which has good detection, very good firewall and very low demand on resources.
  2. Spyder_1386

    Spyder_1386 TS Booster Posts: 498

    hey bobcat

    Thanks for the info. Would like to know where Norton featured on that list of premium AVs ... Is it even on the list? :p

    Spyder_1386 :)
  3. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 688   +67

    Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009 v.16.1 came 6th out of 13 such products tested.
    Malware detection: good
    Firewall: fair
    Demand on Resources: good
    Overall score: good

    EDIT: This suite was let down somewhat by weak Trojan detection.

    I would therefore advise its users to install a good additional anti-Trojan.
  4. mflynn

    mflynn TS Rookie Posts: 2,655


    Yep they they make a very good "Demand on Resources"!!!

  5. LNCPapa

    LNCPapa TS Special Forces Posts: 4,263   +453

    Are the results of this test available for free? I tried to find this review on their site but all I could find was a request for 2 euros to get the results. Keep in mind I was running it through a translator so I could be mistaken on what I was requesting.
  6. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 688   +67

    My post was my résumé of the test results, not copied from anywhere on the web.

    I get the mag as a subscriber. Non subscribers can access the articles (in German) thru their web site against a charge, so you understood right.

    However, if you want any specific info, like Spyder asked for Norton, I’ll gladly supply it.
  7. werepossum

    werepossum TS Rookie Posts: 31

    Would this consumer magazine have the technical knowledge to make an expert evaluation? I ask because our own Consumer Reports is pretty much a joke, and because PC Magazine judged Norton best of 2009 (after Norton 2008 was pretty much bottom of the barrel.)

    FWIW, I jumped to Norton 2009 after becoming infected through McAfee (free with Comcast cable Internet service) and have been extremely pleased. It's very fast, uses almost no resources, has let nothing through (although admittedly I've laid off Turkish and Russian political and military sites since the original infection), does micro updates that run in the background every few minutes that don't even cause a blip when gaming, and best of all coexists seamlessly with Malwarebytes Professional - something neither McAfee nor McAfee Enterprise does well.

    Did Stiftung Waren test Sunbelt's VIPRE Enterprise by chance? Anybody have any experience with it?
  8. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 688   +67

    To say that a Consumers Association lacks expertise takes a simplistic view. These bodies don’t conduct the tests themselves, but assign them to carefully selected specialized and highly reputable labs, probably more than one, so as to compare the results for additional objectivity.

    To meet the very high expenses involved, CA’s of several countries (Germany, UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium, even USA etc) share the budget and publish the results in their own countries.

    Last but not least, the CAs are independent and not profit-oriented or advertisement-driven.

    No individual mag can match expertise, resources or objectivity, while opinions of individuals, however respected, on their own AV are just that, an individual’s opinion of an individual product.
  9. FoReWoRd

    FoReWoRd TS Booster Posts: 204

    how did the Kaspersky and Eset suites score?
  10. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 688   +67

    Kaspersky came 4th overall out of 13 security suites tested.

    Malware detection: good
    Firewall: very good
    Demand on resources: good (i.e. light demand)
    Overall score: good

    ESET was not tested.

    EDIT: The Kaspersky suite would have faired even better, but was let down by weak Trojan detection (detection of other malware was very good).

    I would therefore advise Kaspersky users to install a good additional anti-Trojan, they will then have very good all-round protection.
  11. FoReWoRd

    FoReWoRd TS Booster Posts: 204

    thanks bobcat
  12. werepossum

    werepossum TS Rookie Posts: 31

    Wow, struck a nerve! Sorry dude. I say that because CR just released a video showing how unsafe a particular brand of child car was, then had to retract it. Turns out the test in the video was conducted by a competitive manufacturer and no one from CR even watched the test, let alone supervised it. This pattern has been oft repeated, with testing done either by people with little or even no expertise in a particular field, or by people with a vested interest in the outcome. The lack of a profit motive is not in and of itself proof of expertise; I personally prefer the for-profit venues, but to each his own. I didn't mean to impugn your evaluator of choice.

    So, did Stiftung Waren test Sunbelt's VIPRE Enterprise?
  13. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 688   +67

    The lack of profit motive was not presented as proof or expertise, but of impartiality. The expertise was possessed by the lab doing the tests, which you thought were done by the consumers organization itself.

    This misunderstanding of simple statements and facts about expertise and conducting of tests, makes me question the accuracy of your knowledge as regards the other matters you mentioned about expertise and conducting of tests by consumer bodies.

    Such personal preference for profit-seeking does not surprise me, in view of the fact that it seems to somehow safeguard the immunity of computer mags to blunders taken for granted in the case of joint projects by serious multinational consumer bodies.

    Surely you wouldn’t be interested in results of tests riddled with blunders, conducted by people lacking expertise but possessing vested interests, and which tests are not watched or supervised by those who publish them!

    OK, sorry about the style of the above response, I like argumentation and tend to be carried away by it. The answer to your question is that Sunbelt's VIPRE Enterprise was not tested. If it had been, I would have cited the results notwithstanding my above caustic comment.

    As regards your coveted Norton, I have edited in my reply some advice, but you wouldn’t be interested, as I am not profit-driven. ;)
  14. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    I wonder why ClamWin is almost never in these free antivirus application tests.
  15. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 688   +67

    The brands to be tested are usually selected on the basis of how widespread their use is. To find out this, a preliminary market survey is often conducted.

    It would thus appear that ClamWin is not used very widely in Germany.
  16. werepossum

    werepossum TS Rookie Posts: 31

    Thanks for the info. FYI, it was Consumer Reports itself that withdrew the warning it had issued about the brand of child car seats and admitted that no CR personnel had conducted or even observed the test. The impugned manufacturer made the accusation that the lab was in fact its biggest competitor's lab, based on video presented by CR and video previously done by the other manufacturer. I don't think CR ever 'fessed up as to where the tests were done, but having seen both sets of videos it seemed to me like the same lab. (Although a possible alternate hypothesis would be that the same firm designed and/or built both labs.) But in any case I never meant to impugn Stiftung Waren; I simply asked about their expertise because I personally no longer trust our own Consumer Reports. (I was in fact a subscriber years ago and found I did not agree with what they reported, so I am no longer a subscriber.) No harm, no foul, 'kay?

    EDIT: Assuming I haven't completely pissed you off, could I ask what you consider to be a good anti-Trojan program to run with Norton? I currently run Malwarebytes Professional (with the real-time & on-access scanning) alongside Norton, and I'd really like to keep that. Also, what is a good enterprise anti-malware program? We are currently using McAfee Enterprise, which does NOT coexist well with Malwarebytes and is not good protection. So I'm looking for a better program (or combination of programs) that's not too pricey but offers good protection for around twenty computers. Thanks!
  17. bobcat

    bobcat TechSpot Paladin Topic Starter Posts: 688   +67

    Consumer Organizations around the world are trying to do a good job in protecting the consumers against the interests of big concerns, (manufacturers, large retailers, advertisers) who would prefer to keep prices high, quality mediocre and the consumers in the dark. As a rule, CO’s are succeeding in providing unbiased, reliable information, in fact they are often the only source of such information. As a result, they enjoy very high respect in Europe, especially UK, Germany and The Netherlands.

    Since we are all consumers, it’s not only fair but also in our interests to support these bodies, not to undermine them.

    As regards good anti-trojans, I am not aware of a specific recent test for them by Stiftung Warentest. From personal knowledge and a past test, The Cleaner from was one of the best, specializing on Trojans and succeeding in removing them where AV’s were failing. It’s still around and there is a free version for private use. I don’t know if it’s still the best, but it can co-exist with an AV and complement it.

    Malwarebyte’s is also a good all-round supplement to an AV, but it’s not free.

    Another choice for a free tool with strong anti-trojan component is A-Squared from

    Finally, as regards enterprise versions, these are not tested by consumer organizations because they are not meant for the average consumer. It would be irresponsible of me to give any advice.
  18. werepossum

    werepossum TS Rookie Posts: 31

    Thanks for the info.
  19. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    1.) I think the primary reason is: ClamWin is scan on-demand only. It is not proactive and you have to run it manually to scan for viruses. There are alternatives based on ClamAV though, like Moon Secure, I believe. But that isn't ClamWin, is it? :)

    2.) This is somewhat anecdotal since I can neither cite or vouch for the quality of the tests done, but ClamWin has done very poorly in regards to virus detection in a couple of 'big' comparisons I've seen.
  20. werepossum

    werepossum TS Rookie Posts: 31


    Update on the Moosoft. I clicked on the link to try The Cleaner. When I clicked on the download link, the page showed two of five stars. The comments visible were mostly complaints that it was no longer free ($19.95 plus $4.95/month, although the link I clicked was supposedly for a free version.) To see if there was anything more related to its actual performance I clicked the "NEXT" button and received a cascade of scare sell pages (danger! warning if you don't buy now!) although (hopefully) nothing too dangerous. Regardless, try this link with care.
  21. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    yes, but there is a reason it is a non-ondemand scanner. It definitely takes up less system resources. I used to use norton corporate but it got worse and worse and kept bogging down the system. I've been using clam win with no issues.
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