AV-Comparatives conducts a variety of malware protection tests, to ensure that all aspects of protection are covered. We test against various types of malicious programs, not only viruses, and use large sample sizes in each test to ensure statistical relevance. We also run false-positive tests to ensure that an antivirus program does not simply detect any unknown program as malicious. Each test report contains details of the aim of the test, methods and sample sizes used. We also intend to publish an overview of our test results, with guidelines for readers to help them understand which tests may be most relevant to their own particular requirements.
We would suggest that readers should read the description of each test (by whichever testing institute) carefully and try to understand which aspects are being evaluated, and also bear in mind things like the type of malware being used in the test, the sample size, the used product versions, etc. This may help to explain why a product gets good marks on one test by a particular institute, but bad marks on a different test by the same institute; also why a product scores well in a test by one institute, but badly in an apparently similar test by a different institute.
Listed below are some noteworthy institutes that provide tests of security software. The list is not meant as an endorsement, but more as a reference to some alternative sites.
Independent Testing Organizations
There are several independent testing organizations in the world. They all do their best to provide consumers with an unbiased view and assessment of the efficacy of security solutions. The services provided are useful not only for the users of the software, but also for the manufacturers. Very often, independent testing labs are used by security software vendors as an additional, external quality assessment lab, in order to find bugs and see in which areas further improvements are needed. We advise users to have a look at a variety of tests (covering different aspects of products) and testing labs (to get a broad overview over time from various sources).