File Detection Test March 2014
of Malicious Software including false alarm test
|Test Period||March 2014|
|Number of Testcases||125977|
|Online with cloud connectivity|
|False Alarm Test included|
The File Detection Test is one of the most deterministic factors to evaluate the effectiveness of an anti-virus engine. These test reports are released twice a year including a false alarm test. In this test, the following 23 up-to-date Security Products were tested using 125977 prevalent malware samples.
- Kingsoft Internet Security 2013.SP6Build: 2013.SP6.0.030511
- ThreatTrack Vipre Internet Security 7.0Build: 18.104.22.168
Each test system is running on Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 64-Bit including a respective security product, which was last updated on the 21st of February 2014. The malware sets were frozen on the 7th of March 2015. All products had Internet/cloud-access during the test and were tested using default settings. To ensure that all file recognition capabilities are used, we enabled scan of all files, scan of archives and scan for PUA in all products.
On each test system the malware set is scanned. The detections made by the security product are noted and analysed. Although no samples were executed during this test, we considered cases where malware would be recognized on-access, but not on-demand. The test is thus called File Detection Test (as opposed to the earlier On-Demand Tests), as on-access scanning is taken into consideration.
Please note: Several products make use of cloud technologies, which require an active Internet connection. Our tests are performed using an active Internet connection. Users should be aware that detection rates may in some cases be drastically lower if the scan is performed while offline (or when the cloud service is unreachable for various reasons). The cloud should be considered as an additional benefit/feature to increase detection rates (as well as response times and false alarm suppression), and not as a full replacement for local offline detections. Vendors should make sure that users are appropriately warned in the event that the connectivity to the cloud is lost, which may considerably affect the protection provided, and e.g. make an initiated scan useless. While in our test we check whether the cloud services of the respective security vendors are reachable, users should be aware that being online does not necessarily mean that the cloud service of the products they use is reachable/working properly. In fact, sometimes products with cloud functionality have various network issues due to which no cloud security is provided, but the user is not warned. AMTSO has a rudimentary test to verify the proper functionality of cloud-supported products.
The test-set used has been built consulting telemetry data with the aim of including prevalent malware samples from the last weeks/months prior to the test date which are/were endangering users in the field and consisted of 125977 samples. Furthermore, the distribution of families in the test-set has been weighted based on family-prevalence and was build based on Microsoft’s global telemetry data. This means that as more prevalent a malware family is, as more samples from that family are included in the test-set.
Hierarchical Cluster Analysis
This dendrogram shows the results of the cluster analysis. It indicates at what level of similarity the clusters are joined. The red drafted line defines the level of similarity. Each intersection indicates a group.
The malware detection rates are grouped by the testers after looking at the clusters built with the hierarchal clustering method. However, the testers do not stick rigidly to this in cases where it would not make sense. For example, in a scenario where all products achieve low detection rates, the highest-scoring ones will not necessarily receive the highest possible award.
(given by the testers after consulting statistical methods)
|Very few (0-1 FPs)|
Few (2-10 FP's)
|Many (11-50 FPs)|
|Very many (51-100 FPs)|
|Crazy many (over 100 FPs)|
The test-set used contained 125977 recent/prevalent samples from the last few weeks/months. We estimate the remaining error margin on the final percentages to be below 0.2%.
Total detection rates (clustered in groups)
Please consider also the false alarm rates when looking at the file detection rates below.
|2.||Baidu, eScan, F-Secure, Fortinet||99.6%|
|3.||Bitdefender, BullGuard, Emsisoft, Kingsoft, Lavasoft, Qihoo||99.5%|
Graph of missed samples (lower is better)
The graph below shows the test results against “out-of-box” malware detection provided by Microsoft Windows. In Windows 8, this is provided by Windows Defender, which is pre-installed by default with the operating system. The equivalent in Windows 7 is Microsoft Security Essentials, which is not pre-installed, but can easily be added for free as an option via the Windows Update service. We use this to compare the value of this feature – i.e. static malware detection – provided to users of third-party Anti-Virus solutions.
False Positive (False Alarm) Test Result
In order to better evaluate the quality of the file detection capabilities (distinguish good files from malicious files) of anti-virus products, we provide a false alarm test. False alarms can sometimes cause as much trouble as a real infection. Please consider the false alarm rate when looking at the detection rates, as a product which is prone to false alarms achieves higher detection rates more easily.
|1.||ESET, Panda||1||very few FPs|
|2.||Fortinet, Sophos||2||few FPs|
|3.||Bitdefender, BullGuard, Emsisoft, Kingsoft, Lavasoft, Qihoo, Tencent||3|
|5.||F-Secure, Trend Micro||5|
|11.||Avast||95||very many FPs|
|12.||Baidu||111||crazy many FPs|
Details about the discovered false alarms (including their assumed prevalence) can be seen in a separate report available at: http://www.av-comparatives.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/avc_fps_201403_en.pdf
A product that is successful at detecting a high percentage of malicious files but suffers from false alarms may not be necessarily better than a product which detects less malicious files but which generates fewer false alarms.
The following chart shows the combined file detection rates and false alarms.
Award levels reached in this File Detection Test
AV-Comparatives provides ranking awards. As this report also contains the raw detection rates and not only the awards, expert users that e.g. do not care about false alarms can rely on that score alone if they want to. The awards are not only based on detection rates – also false positives found in our set of clean files are considered.
* these products got lower awards due to false alarms
Baidu and Qihoo wanted to have their official international/English product versions included in this test, which we did. However, we must point out that the English product versions from these vendors are completely different products (different engines, different default settings, etc.) compared to their Chinese versions. Therefore, the results are not applicable for the Chinese product versions.
Information about additional third-party engines/signatures used inside the products: BullGuard, Emsisoft, eScan, F-Secure, Kingsoft and Qihoo use the Bitdefender engine. Baidu (English version) and Tencent use the Avira engine.
Microsoft security products are not included in the awards page, as their out-of-box detection is included in the operating system and therefore out-of-competition. The score of Microsoft Security Essentials would be equivalent to TESTED.
We additionally tested the Windows Defender included in Windows 8 (we observed the same results as achieved by Security Essentials under Windows 7).
Even if we deliver various tests and show different aspects of anti-virus software, users are advised to evaluate the software by themselves and form their own opinions about them. Test data or reviews just provide guidance on some aspects that users cannot evaluate by themselves. We encourage readers to additionally consult other independent test results provided by various well-known and established independent testing organizations, in order to get a better overview about the detection and protection capabilities of the various products over different test scenarios and various test-sets. A list of various reputable testing labs can be found on our website.
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