Testing popular free antivirus software

  1. Testing and Choosing Your Antivirus Software

    Every now and again I’m asked by clients why their antivirus software did not pick up a virus or malware that has entered onto their systems to which I reply it that new viri are being crated each day and to ensure that you keep you system as protected as possible then you must ensure that your AV systems are kept fully update with the latest virus definitions.

    However there have been a couple of occasions, where for some unknown reason, I have discovered that the AV software on their system has simply stopped working even though the software appears to be running correctly.
    Having done a quick search on the Internet on the best way to test the AV software on your PC I came across the EICAR website (European Institute Computer Antivirus Research).

    Testing Your Antivirus Software

    All Antivirus Software is designed to detect and prevent the EIRCAR test file. The file is a legitimate DOS program containing 68 characters. These characters are:


    The simplest and quickest way to test your AV software is to do the following:
    1. Open a new Tex Document and copy and past the string above into it
    2. Click File and Save As and change the "Save File Type" to "All Files"
    3. No Save the file as EICAR.com to a location on your PC. It doesnt matter where it is saved
    4. Now run your AV Software

    I f your AV scanner is working properly then it should pick up the ircar.com file no matter where is has been saved.
    Sometimes your scanner will detect the file as soon as it has been saved to your PC.

    Testing Other Antivirus Software
    Having run this on my own AV scanner (AVG Free) I decided to see how it would react if I tested it on other AV scanners and see if some antivirus software is better than others.

    The following tests are all run on free/trial versions of various AV Scanners all of which can be downloaded from the downloads section of TechSpot -> Security -> Antivirus.

    N.B. If you decide to carry out the following tests yourself neither myself or TechSpot can accept any responsibility for damage caused to your PC should you fail to carry out these tests properly.

    To carry out the tests I first downloaded the files I would require from eicar.com. http://www.eicar.org/anti_virus_test_file.htm

      • EICAR.com - the string characters in a basic file
      • EICAR_COM.zip - the string file embedded into a zipped folder
      • EICARCOM2.zip - as above except this time the string file is saved into a folder before being zipped into a SECOND folder to test for multilevel scanning.

      Now I downloaded a Selection of AV scanners that I had come across on Clients Computers. While I am aware that there are others on the TechSpot download section, I specifically stuck to the ones I had come across
      • AVG Free (this is currently the one I use)
      • AVAST
      • AVIRA
      • Bit Defender
      • F-Secure
      • Kaspersky
      • Panda Cloud

      Finally I set about creating a selection of tests for the scanners. These tests were as follows:
      1. Using the STRING text (created by EICAR) to create the test file mention and test if the scanner would allow me to create the file.
      2. Once created scanning for the text file
      3. Attempt to Download each of the files from the EICAR testfile page from the website and check if the AV scanner would block and stop if from being downloaded.
      4. First turn of the AV scanner then download the Files from the EICAR test page. Finally check if the Scanner will pick up the files during a Scan

      The Results as attached.

      While this does not tell you which Software is better than another one it may help but dont rely on it.

      Hope this helps people.

    Attached Files:

  2. DennisMitchell

    DennisMitchell TS Rookie

    I run Norton because it is free from my isp. However, I really like avast after some research on the web, and it has everything Norton has for free! So my favourite virus software is Avast, and the one I use is Norton Security online.

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