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Summary Report 2016

Date December 2016
Language English
Last Revision January 20th 2017

Awards, Winners, Comments


Release date 2017-02-08
Revision date 2017-01-20
Test Period January - December 2016

Introduction

AV-Comparatives is an independent test lab, providing rigorous testing of security software products. We were founded in 2004 and are based in Innsbruck, Austria.

AV-Comparatives is an ISO 9001:2015 certified organisation (renewed and upgraded in 2016). We received the TÜV Austria certificate for our management system for the scope: “Independent Tests of Anti-Virus Software”.

http://www.av-comparatives.org/about-us/certifications/

AV-Comparatives is the first certified EICAR Trusted IT-Security Lab http://www.av-comparatives.org/about-us/certifications/

At the end of every year, AV-Comparatives releases a summary report to comment on the various anti-virus products tested over the year, and to highlight the high-scoring products of the various tests that took place over the course of the year. Please bear in mind that this report looks at all the comparative tests of 2016, i.e. not just the latest ones. Comments and conclusions are based on the results shown in the various comparative test reports of AV-Comparatives, as well as from observations made during the tests (http://www.av-comparatives.org/test-methods/).

Tested Products

The following vendors participated in AV-Comparatives’ Public Main Test-Series of 2016 and agreed to have the effectiveness of their products independently evaluated.

We are happy that this year’s tests helped several vendors to find critical and other bugs in their software, and that this has contributed to improving the products.

Approved Security Product Award

The products of all the 19 vendors above are AV-Comparatives 2016 Approved Windows Security Products.

APPROVED

Management Summary

Tests

In 2016, AV-Comparatives subjected 19 security products for Windows to rigorous investigation. All the programs were tested for their ability to protect against real-world Internet threats, identify thousands of recent malicious programs, provide protection without slowing down the PC, and remove malware that had already infected a PC.

Results and Awards

Whilst all of the programs in our test reached an acceptable level overall, some programs outperformed others. For details, please see “Overview of levels reached during 2016” on page 9. In order to recognise those products that achieve outstanding scores in our tests, we have given a number of end-of-year awards that highlight the best results in each test and overall. The Product of the Year, Outstanding Product and Top Rated awards are based on overall performance in the Public Main Test Series; there are also Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for each individual test type. Please see the Award Winners section for more details of the awards. The 2016 Product of the Year Award goes to Avira; Outstanding Product Awards go to (alphabetically) Bitdefender and Kaspersky Lab; Top Rated Products are (alphabetically) Emsisoft, ESET, Tencent and ThreatTrack. 

Overview of tested products

Here we provide a summary for each of the programs tested, with a note of each one’s successes during the year. Although the user interface does not affect any awards, we have noted some of the best UI features as well.

Avast won three Advanced+ awards in this year’s tests. It took joint Silver in the Performance Test. The program is quick and easy to install, and simple to use.

AVG received 4 Advanced+ awards in this year’s tests. It wins the joint Gold Award for Malware Removal, and joint Bronze Award for the Real-World Protection Test. We liked its clear and persistent malware alerts.

Avira is Product of the Year this year, receiving Advanced+ awards in all 7 tests. It wins joint Gold Awards for the File Detection and Performance Tests, Silver for the Malware Removal Test, and joint Silver for the Real-World Protection Test. The menu panel on the left-hand side of the window provides easy access to all the program’s features.

Bitdefender is an Outstanding Product this year, with joint highest scores overall. It wins the Gold Award for the Real-World Protection Test, joint Silver for Performance, File Detection and False Positives,and the Bronze Award for Malware Removal. The very modern interface design is consistent with that found in mobile devices.

BullGuard received three Advanced+ awards in 2016’s tests. It took the joint Silver Award for False Positives and File Detection. Malware alerts are informative and persistent, and the tiled interface provides easy access to individual components.

Emsisoft is a Top Rated Product this year, with four Advanced+ awards. It wins a joint Silver Award for File Detection, and joint Bronze for Performance. We liked its informative setup wizard, and the very clean and modern interface design.

eScan received an Advanced+ award in three tests this year. It wins joint Silver Awards for File Detection and False Positives. Its tiled interface provides easy access to individual components, and status information about each one.

ESET received four Advanced+ awards this year, and is once again a Top Rated Product. It wins joint Gold Awards for False Positives and Performance. The program interface is very clean and easily accessible, and help facilities are excellent.

Fortinet received one Advanced+ award this year. Its user interface is business-oriented but straightforward.

F-Secure reached Advanced+ level in three of our main tests this year. It wins a joint Silver Award for File Detection. We liked its clear and persistent malware alerts.

Kaspersky Lab is an Outstanding Product this year, having received Advanced+ awards in all of the year’s tests. It also wins joint Gold in the File Detection and Malware Removal Tests, joint Silver in the Real-World Protection Test, and joint Bronze in the False Positives and Performance Tests. We especially liked its automatic software updater.

Lavasoft received three Advanced+ awards in 2016. It receives a Bronze Award for File Detection and joint Bronze for False Positives. The program window is very clear, and the manual is comprehensive, clearly laid-out and well-illustrated.

McAfee received two Advanced+ awards this year. It also takes a joint Bronze Award for False Positives. The Navigation Center provides an at-a-glance view of all its features.

Microsoft’s built-in security product served as baseline. It received awards in five tests this year. Its simple design makes it very easy to use.

Quick Heal received four Advanced+ awards in this year’s tests. It also takes a joint Silver Award for File Detection. Its status report and malware alerts are very clear.

Sophos received an award in all the Main-Series Tests this year. It takes a joint Silver Award for False Positives. Its user interface is straightforward, although oriented towards business use.

Tencent is a Top-Rated Product this year, with 5 Advanced+ awards in the tests. It wins a joint Gold Award for Malware Removal, and a joint Silver Award for File Detection. Malware alerts are very obvious, and are displayed until you close them.

Threat Track VIPRE is a Top-Rated Product in 2016, receiving 5 Advanced+ awards in the tests. It receives a joint Bronze Award for the Real-World Protection Test. The user interface is very clean and modern.

Trend Micro received awards in all of this year’s tests. It wins a joint Gold Award for False Positives. The malware and status alerts are very clear, and persistent.

Advice on Choosing Computer Security Software

There is no such thing as the perfect security program, or the best one for all needs and every user. Being recognized as “Product of the Year” does not mean that a program is the “best” in all cases and for everyone: it only means that its overall performance in our tests throughout the year was consistent and unbeaten.

Before selecting a security product, please visit the vendor’s website and evaluate their software by downloading a trial version. Our awards are based on test results only and do not consider other factors, as there are some important factors (such as available interface languages, price, and support options), which you should evaluate for yourself. 

Overview of levels reached during 2016

AV-Comparatives provides a wide range of tests and reviews in comprehensive reports (http://www.av-comparatives.org/comparatives-reviews/). Annual awards for 2016 are based on the Public Main Test-Series: Real-World Protection Test, Performance Test, File Detection Test, False-Alarm Test and Malware Removal Test.

All the programs tested are from the reputable and reliable manufacturers. Please note that even the STANDARD level/award requires a program reach a good standard, although it indicates areas which need further improvement compared to other products. ADVANCED indicates areas which may need some improvement, but are already very competent. Below is an overview of awards reached by the various anti-virus products in AV-Comparatives’ main test-series of 2016.

Award Winners

For each of the test types* in the Public Main Test Series (Real-World Protection, File Detection, Performance, Malware Removal, and False Positives**), we give Gold, Silver and Bronze awards, for the first, second and third highest-scoring products, respectively.

Results from all the tests are assigned points as follows: Tested = 0, Standard = 5, Advanced = 10, Advanced+ = 15. Products with 90 points or more are given the Top Rated award, with two conditions. Firstly, any products that failed to win any award (i.e. got 0 points) in either of the Real-World Protection tests have not been considered. Secondly, good results in the Performance Tests cannot make up for weak results in the detection/protection tests.

To get the Approved Windows Security Product Award, at least 35 points must be reached.

*For some test types, there may be two actual tests conducted in a year; the awards are based on the combined score of both tests.

**The False Positives Test is not an independent test, but part of the File Detection Test.

Product of the Year 2016

As in previous years, in 2016 we are giving our Product of the Year Award to the product with the highest overall scores across all of the tests in the Public Main Test Series. This depends on the number of Advanced+ awards received in all the tests. As all products receiving an Advanced+ award are considered (statistically speaking) to be as good as each other, a product can receive the Product of the Year award without necessarily reaching the highest score in any individual test.

AV-Comparatives’ 2016 Product of the Year award goes to Avira.

AVIRA

PRODUCT OF THE YEAR

Outstanding Products 2016

As in previous years, where there has been a tie for Product of the Year, we are using the following tiebreaker: the product that has not won the award before, or the product that won it less/least recently, is given the award. However, there it is very close competition between three different products this year, all of which received the Advanced+ Award in all of the qualifying tests. Consequently, we are introducing the Outstanding Product Award, which we are giving to the two other products that also achieved top scores.

AV-Comparatives’ 2016 Outstanding Product Awards go to, in alphabetical order:

Bitdefender, Kaspersky Lab

OUTSTANDING 

Top-Rated Products 2016

As in previous years, we will also be giving Top Rated Awards to a select group of participating products which reached a very high standard in the Public Main Series tests. We have used the results over the year to designate products as “Top Rated”.

AV-Comparatives’ Top-Rated products for 2016 are, in alphabetical order:

Emsisoft, ESET, Tencent, ThreatTrack VIPRE

TOP RATED

Please see our summary and awards pages – links below:

http://chart.av-comparatives.org/awardslist.php?year=2016

Whole-Product Dynamic “Real-World” Protection winners

Security products include various different features to protect systems against malware. Such protection features are taken into account in the Whole-Product Dynamic “Real-World” Protection tests, which test products under real-world conditions. Products must provide a high level of protection without producing too many false alarms, and without requiring the user to make many decisions.

The programs with the best overall results over the course of the year are: Bitdefender, Avira, Kaspersky Lab, ThreatTrack and AVG.

GOLD Bitdefender
 SILVER Avira, Kaspersky Lab
 BRONZE ThreatTrack VIPRE, AVG

For details and full results of the 2016 Real-World Protection tests, please click the link below:
Real-World Protection Tests

File Detection winners

The File Detection Test evaluates the static file scanning engine component, which is one subset of the protection features provided by security products. A high detection rate of malware – without causing too many false alarms – is, depending on the situation, one of the most important, deterministic and reliable features of an anti-virus product (as e.g. it is not heavily dependent on infection vectors or other factors).

Avira, Bitdefender, BullGuard, Emsisoft, eScan, F-Secure, Kaspersky Lab, Quick Heal, Tencent and Kaspersky Lab earned ADVANCED+ in both tests. Avira and Kaspersky Lab scored over 99.9% both times.

GOLD Avira, Kaspersky Lab
 SILVER Bitdefender, BullGuard, Emsisoft, eScan, F-Secure, Quick Heal, Tencent
 BRONZE Lavasoft

For details and full results of the 2016 File Detection tests, please click the link below:
File Detection Tests

False Positives winners

False positives can cause as much trouble as a real infection. Due to this, it is important that anti-virus products undergo stringent quality assurance testing before release to the public, in order to avoid false positives. AV-Comparatives carry out extensive false-positive testing as part of the File Detection Tests.

The products with the lowest rates of false positives during 2016 were ESET, Trend Micro (0), Bitdefender, BullGuard, eScan, Sophos (5) and Kaspersky lab, Lavasoft, McAfee (6). These figures represent the SUM of the false positives from both FP Tests.

GOLD ESET, Trend Micro
 SILVER Bitdefender, BullGuard, eScan, Sophos
 BRONZE Kaspersky Lab, Lavasoft, McAfee

For details and full results of the 2016 False Positive tests, please click the link below:
False Alarm Tests

Overall Performance (Low System-Impact) winners

Security products must remain turned on under all circumstances, while users are performing their usual computing tasks. Some products may have a higher impact than others on system performance while performing some tasks.

Avast, AVIRA, Bitdefender, Emsisoft, ESET and Kaspersky Lab demonstrated a lower impact on system performance than other products.

GOLD Avira, ESET
 SILVER Bitdefender, Avast
 BRONZE Kaspersky Lab, Emsisoft

For details and full results of the 2016 Performance tests, please click the link below:
Performance Tests

Malware Removal winners

A very useful ability for an anti-virus program is the ability to remove malware which has already infected a system.

In this year’s test, five products received the Advanced+ award, these being Kaspersky Lab, Tencent, AVG, AVIRA and Bitdefender:

GOLD Kaspersky Lab, Tencent, AVG
 SILVER Avira
 BRONZE Bitdefender

For details and full results of the 2016 Malware Removal test, please click the link below:
Malware Removal Tests

Product Reviews

For our 2016 Summary Report, we have tried to make the User-Experience Review more accessible to the average computer user, by explaining some technical terms and providing a glossary. The specific points we have looked at for each of the programs in the review are as follows.

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

We list the versions of Windows – e.g. Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 – that the manufacturer supports, i.e. guarantees that the product will work with.

What features does the program have?

Some of the programs we review have additional features, such as parental controls or a replacement firewall, which we list here. Please note that none of these are relevant to our malware-protection or performance tests, and we have not included any details of them in this review.

Where can I find more information about the product?

We provide a link to the product page on the manufacturer’s website, so you can find out more about it.

What we liked about the program

Here we list the design and functionality elements that we thought were particularly good in the product.

Tips for users

Having tried the product out, we list any useful hints that we think might help readers to use the program.

Installing the product

Here we list any decisions that you have to make when installing the program, e.g. whether you want it to detect potentially unwanted programs.

Finding essential features

In this section we tell you how to find the most important functions of the program. These are:

  • Security status: whether the program is up-to-date and all protection features are enabled
  • Scans: how to run a full scan, scan an individual drive, folder or file, and how to set up a scheduled scan
  • Update: how to run a manual update of the malware definitions
  • Subscription information: where you can see the expiry date of your licence (does not apply to free programs)
  • Help: where to go to get assistance on using the program

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

In this section we note how the program warns you if real-time protection is disabled, and how to reactivate it.

We show an example malware alert. Please note that many antivirus programs display a variety of malware alerts, depending on the type of threat and the way it is encountered (download, USB stick etc.). The alert shown in the review is thus just one example, and other alerts might be displayed in different circumstances.

We also tell you how the program will alert you if it detects a potentially unwanted program.

To provoke the malware detection alert, we used a common malware sample (malicious program) that we know the antivirus program will recognise. To provoke warnings for potentially unwanted programs, we used the AMTSO Potentially Unwanted Applications Test File.

What are the program’s help features like?

Here we list the program’s help features, such as built-in help files, user manuals, and online knowledge bases.

Avast Free Antivirus

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10

What features does the program have?

Avast Free Antivirus includes a password manager. For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

https://www.avast.com/en-eu/free-antivirus-download

What we liked about the program

Installing the program is very quick and easy.

Tips for users

If you want to run a manual update of malware definitions, you have to click on the cogwheel in the top right-hand corner of the window; the update function can be found in the settings.

Installing the product

To install Avast Free Antivirus, you just download and run the installer program, then click Install. There are no decisions to make.

Finding essential features

Security status: You can see this in the middle of the main window:

Avast Free Antivirus

Scans: You can run a Smart Scan (full scan including outdated software and browser add-ons) from the button below the status display. Alternatively, if you click the Scan button at the top of the window, you can Scan for viruses, which offers malware-only scans; you can choose between quick, full, custom and removable media scans. It’s also possible to right-click a drive, folder or file in Windows Explorer and click the Avast Scan entry:

Avast Free Antivirus

We could not find a way to schedule a scan with Avast Free Antivirus.

Update: to manually update malware definitions, you have to click the cogwheel icons (settings), then click Update, Update.

Subscription information: this is not applicable, as the program is free.

Help: you can open this by clicking the ? symbol in the top right-hand corner of the window.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the status display shows this a warning:

Avast Free Antivirus

The protection can be reactivated by clicking either Turn on or Resolve all.

One example alert displayed when Avast Free Antivirus detects a malicious program is shown below:

Avast Free Antivirus

The alert closes after about 30 seconds. You do not need to do anything.

By default, Avast Free Antivirus does not detct potentially unwanted programs. However, you can switch this option on in the settings. If you do this, Avast shows a similar alert for PUPs to the malware alert above.

What are the program’s help features like?

The local help feature provides simple text instructions for the basic functions of the program:

Avast Free Antivirus
Avast Free Antivirus

There is also an online support service.

Awards

 SILVER

AVG Internet Security

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

Windows XP (32-bit only), Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10

What features does the program have?

In addition to malware protection, AVG Internet Security also includes a replacement firewall. For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

http://www.avg.com/ww-en/internet-security

What we liked about the program

AVG Internet Security makes the most important functions (status, update and scan) very easy to find. The status display warns effectively if protection is disabled, and makes it very easy to reactivate it. Malware warnings are clear, and stay open until you close them, giving you time to read them. The help feature is good.

Tips for users

Both the AVG icon on the Desktop and the System Tray icon open the AVG Zen window (see Notes below). The main program window can be accessed directly from the Windows Start Menu, and then pinned to the Windows Taskbar for easy access.

Installing the product

To install the program, you just need to download and run the installer file from the AVG website and click Install Now. There is an option to create an AVG account to manage your protected devices, but you can skip this and create the account later if you want. At the end of the installation, a dialog box will ask if you want to install AVG Web TuneUp, which will change your home page and search engine; you can accept or decline.

Finding essential features

Security status: This is shown at the top of the main program window:

AVG Internet Security

Scans: Clicking the Scan now button in the program window starts a full scan. If you click the cog wheel symbol to the right of this, a range of scan options is displayed, including custom and scheduled scans:

AVG Internet Security

You can also scan a specific drive, folder or file by right-clicking it in Windows Explorer, and clicking Scan with AVG in the context menu:

AVG Internet Security

Update: You can run a manual update by clicking Protection is up to date in the main window (the caption will change if signatures are significantly out of date).

Subscription information: We could not find a means of accessing subscription information from the program window; you have to log on to your AVG account to see it.

Help: You can open the program’s help feature by clicking the Options menu in the top right-hand corner of the main window, then clicking Help contents.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the status display in the main window changes to a warning:

AVG Internet Security

The protection can be reactivated by clicking the Fix Now button.

One example alert displayed when AVG Internet Security detects a malicious program is shown below:

AVG Internet Security

The alert is displayed until you close it. You do not need to take any action. A similar alert is shown for potentially unwanted programs.

What are the program’s help features like?

Clicking Help contents in the Options menu shows the local help window. This opens with an FAQ page, and has links to articles on various components and tasks. Instructions are short and simple, with a few screenshots.

AVG Internet Security

There is also an FAQ page on the AVG website:

https://support.avg.com/support_Internet_Security?l=en_US&retUrl=support_protection_crossroad

Awards

 BRONZE

GOLD

Avira Antivirus Pro

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10

What features does the program have?

Avira Antivirus Pro is a straightforward antivirus program. It does not include a replacement firewall but lets you control Windows Firewall from its program window.

Where can I find more information about the product?

https://www.avira.com/en/avira-antivirus-pro

What we liked about the program

Avira Antivirus Pro is very simple to install. The main program window makes it easy to find all the important features and information.

Tips for users

Installing the separate Browser Safety component enables search ratings, plus protection against phishing pages, malicious search engines and other malicious URLs.

Installing the product

To install Avira Antivirus Pro, you just need to download the installer file from the Avira website and run it. There are no choices to be made. Options to install other Avira products are displayed during setup, but you can just ignore these if you want.

Finding essential features

Security status: This is shown in the main program window

Avira Antivirus Pro

Scan and update buttons and subscription information can all be found on the program’s home page:

Avira Antivirus Pro

Additional scan options are available from the System Scanner link on the left of the window, and scheduled scans can be set using the Scheduler link in the same place. You can also right-click a drive or folder in Windows Explorer and click Scan selected files with Avira:

v

Help: you can find this by clicking the Help menu at the top of the window, then Overview.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the status display changes to show this:

Avira Antivirus Pro

The protection can be reactivated by clicking Fix problem.

One example alert displayed (in the browser window) when Avira Antivirus Pro detects a malicious program is shown below:

Avira Antivirus Pro

You do not need to do anything, as the malicious program has been blocked automatically. . A similar alert is shown for potentially unwanted programs.

To enable advanced web protection, you need to install the Browser Safety component. Having done this, if you accidentally open a phishing page, Avira shows the following warning in the browser window:

Avira Antivirus Pro

Clicking Take me away! opens Avira’s safe search page instead.

If you use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as a browser, Avira shows search ratings for searches with Google, Bing and Yahoo. These add an icon to the left of each search result to show if the site is considered safe or not:

Avira Antivirus Pro

What are the program’s help features like?

If you click the Help menu, then Overview, the local help window opens. This has simple instructions for using the program, with some screenshots:

Avira Antivirus Pro

There is also an FAQ page on the Avira website: http://www.avira.com/en/support

Awards

PRODUCT OF THE YEAR

 SILVER

GOLD

GOLD

 SILVER

Bitdefender Internet Security

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

7, 8, 8.1, 10

What features does the program have?

In addition to protection against malware, Bitdefender Internet Security provides an antispam feature, a firewall, parental controls, file encryption and secure data deletion.      For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

http://www.bitdefender.com/solutions/internet-security.html

What we liked about the program

Bitdefender Internet Security 2017 has a very modern interface, similar to those found in mobile phones and tablets. This makes the program window very clean and uncluttered, and means that it can be used easily on a touchscreen device. If you are used to using (e.g.) an iPad or Android phone, you should find it very easy to navigate your way around the program.

Tips for users

If the program’s security status shows a problem, you can fix it by clicking on the warning itself.

You can show the names of all the items in the left-hand menu column by clicking the “hamburger” symbol at the top:

Bitdefender Internet Security

You can find advanced antimalware features, and other functions such as the firewall, by clicking View Modules on the right-hand side of the window.

Installing the product

To install Bitdefender Internet Security, you just need to download and run the installer. When setup is complete, you have to create a Bitdefender account, or sign in if you already have one.

Finding essential features

Security status: This is shown at the top of the main program window:

Bitdefender Internet Security

Scans: There is a Quick Scan button on the program’s home page. You can also scan a drive, folder or file by right-clicking it in Windows Explorer and clicking Scan with Bitdefender:

Bitdefender Internet Security

To run a full or scheduled scan, you need to click on the View Modules link on the right-hand side of the window, and then click System Scan to scan the whole computer, or Manage Scans to set up a scheduled scan.

Update: there is an Update Now button under the status display.

Subscription information: you can see this by clicking on the Account button in the menu panel on the left.

Help: If you click on the ? symbol in the menu panel (Support) and then Product Documentation, the program’s online help pages will open.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the status display shows a clear warning:

Bitdefender Internet Security

The protection can be reactivated by clicking on the red text and then Fix, or by switching Autopilot (button to the right) on.

One example alert displayed when Bitdefender Internet Security detects a malicious program is shown below:

Bitdefender Internet Security

The alert disappears after about half a minute. You do not need to do anything.

If you should download a potentially unwanted program, Bitdefender will show you a warning and ask what you want to do:

Bitdefender Internet Security

You cannot make a mistake here, as none of the options allows the potentially unwanted program to run. Clicking on Learn more opens a page of the Bitdefender website that explains what PUPs are.

What are the program’s help features like?

The online help feature is an FAQ page with a search function. Selecting an answer from the FAQs or search results displays brief, simple instructions for the task in question:

Bitdefender Internet Security

Awards

OUTSTANDING 

GOLD

 SILVER

 SILVER

 SILVER

 BRONZE

 SILVER

 SILVER

BullGuard Internet Security

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10

What features does the program have?

In addition to malware protection, BullGuard Internet Security provides a firewall, spam filter, backup and parental controls.          For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

http://www.bullguard.com/products/bullguard-internet-security.aspx

What we liked about the program

The malware alerts are informative and persist until you close them, giving you time to read them. The tiled home screen provides easy access to each of the individual components.

Tips for users

The … button at the bottom right of every tile displays a menu of actions for that component.

Installing the product

To install BullGuard Internet Security, you just need to download and run the installer program. There are no decisions to make.

Finding essential features

Security status: Overall security status is shown when the program window is first opened:

BullGuard Internet Security

If all is well, the status is only shown for 2 seconds, after which the tiled homepage is displayed. Additionally, the status of each of the individual components is shown as a symbol in the top right-hand corner of their respective tiles on the home page.

Scans: You can find scan options by clicking the menu (…) on the Antivirus tile:

BullGuard Internet Security

You can also right-click a drive, folder or file and click Scan with BullGuard:

BullGuard Internet Security

We could not find a means of scheduling a scan.

Update: there is an Update button at the top of the window

Subscription information: You have to log in to your online BullGuard account to find this.

Help: If you click the Support link in the bottom right-hand corner of the window, the support page of the BullGuard website opens in your browser.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the status screen shown when the program is opened displays a warning, which persists until you click one of the buttons:

BullGuard Internet Security

The protection can be reactivated by clicking View Report, Enable:

BullGuard Internet Security

One example alert displayed when BullGuard Internet Security detects a malicious program is shown below:

BullGuard Internet Security

You do not need to take any action. The alert persists until you close it. A similar alert is shown for potentially unwanted programs.

What are the program’s help features like?

The online help pages provide comprehensive instructions for using the program’s features, well illustrated with screenshots.

Awards

Emsisoft Anti-Malware

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

7, 8, 8.1, 10, all 32 and 64-bit

What features does the program have?

Emsisoft Anti-Malware is a straightforward antivirus program. For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

https://www.emsisoft.com/en/software/antimalware/

What we liked about the program

The setup wizard explains potentially unwanted programs very nicely with the screenshot of a browser laden with unwanted toolbars, and the simple tutorial at the end also makes sense to us. The program interface has a very modern design and makes essential features easy to find.

Tips for users

The Emsisoft News strip along the bottom shows links to online articles by Emsisoft, which include some general security advice.

Installing the product

There are two choices to be made during setup. The first is whether to join the Emsisoft Anti-Malware Network (data-sharing scheme), the second is whether to detect potentially unwanted programs. In both cases, clear explanations are given as to what is involved.

Emsisoft Anti-Malware

There is a short tutorial at the end of the setup wizard which explains how to scan drives, and how to check that real-time protection is active.

Finding essential features

Security status: This is shown in the Protection box on the left-hand side of the program window.

Scans: The Scan box on the home screen provides links for quick, full and custom scans. The custom scan option provides a link to Scheduled Scans. You can also right-click a drive, folder or file in Windows Explorer, and click Scan with Emsisoft Anti-Malware:

Emsisoft Anti-Malware

Update: these can be run from the Updates box on the home screen.

Subscription information: this is shown on the home screen below the scan options.

Help: the local help service can be opened from the ? symbol in the top right-hand corner of the program window.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the Protection tab displays a clear warning:

Emsisoft Anti-Malware

The protection can be reactivated by clicking on the affected component (File Guard) and checking the Activate File Guard box.

One example alert displayed when Emsisoft Anti-Malware detects a malicious program is shown below:

Emsisoft Anti-Malware

The alert is displayed for about 10 seconds. You do not need to take any action.

If you should download a potentially unwanted program, a different alert is shown:

Emsisoft Anti-Malware

The dialog box is shown until you click on one of the options.

What are the program’s help features like?

The local help file provides comprehensive text instructions for the program’s features:

Emsisoft Anti-Malware

There is also a forum on the Emsisoft website.

Awards

TOP RATED

 SILVER

 BRONZE

eScan Internet Security Suite

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, all 32 and 64-bit

What features does the program have?

As well as malware protection, eScan Internet Security includes a firewall and parental controls. For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

http://www.escanav.com/en/windows-antivirus/internet-security-suite.asp

What we liked about the program

The tiled interface provides a clear overview of the program’s components and their status. Scan, update and help features are very easy to find, and there is a very comprehensive manual available.

Tips for users

In our test, we found that eScan Internet Security shut itself down for a few seconds after installing an update, causing Windows so show an alert. However, the program restarts itself almost immediately, so there is no cause for concern.

If you do not use a dedicated email program such as Outlook or Thunderbird, the mail anti-virus and anti-spam tiles will show up as Stopped in the program window. This does not mean there is anything wrong; it simply means they are not required.          However, users should be careful to check that other components, such as file anti-virus and firewall, are shown as Started. If not, you need to click on the component’s tile and click Start on its settings page.

Installing the product

To install eScan Internet Security, you download and run the installer file from the eScan website. You need to enter a licence key or click Trial, which lets you try the program for 30 days for free.

Finding essential features

Security status: The status of each individual component (such as File Antivirus) is shown on its respective tile in the main program window.

Scans: The Scan button in the bottom left-hand corner of the window opens the scan options page, from which you can run full, custom and scheduled scans, amongst other options. You can also right-click a drive, folder or file in Windows Explorer and scan it by clicking the eScan entry in the context menu:

eScan Internet Security Suite

Update: There is an update button in the bottom left-hand corner of the window.

Subscription information: you can find this by clicking License Information at the bottom of the window.

Help: There is a big ? symbol in the top right-hand corner of the window, which displays various help and support options.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the file anti-virus tile will turn red and show the status as Stopped:

eScan Internet Security Suite

To reactivate the protection, click on the tile and then click Start.

One example alert displayed when eScan Internet Security detects a malicious program is shown below:

eScan Internet Security Suite

The alert closes automatically after 20 seconds. You do not need to take any action. If you should download a potentially unwanted program, a very similar alert is shown.

What are the program’s help features like?

There is a comprehensive, well-illustrated 116-page manual in .PDF format, along with a searchable knowledge base, on the eScan website.

Awards

 SILVER

 SILVER

ESET Internet Security

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, Home Server 2011

What features does the program have?

As well as malware protection, ESET Internet Security includes a replacement firewall and parental controls. For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

https://www.eset.com/int/home/internet-security/

What we liked about the program

ESET Internet Security has a very simple, clean layout that makes it very easy to find all the important functions and information. Help facilities are outstanding, being very comprehensive and well produced.

Tips for users

During the installation process, ESET Internet Security asks you to choose whether or not to detect potentially unwanted programs (PUPs). If you are not an expert, the safest course is to do so, and to click Clean when a PUP is detected.

Installing the product

To install the product, you download and run the installer file from the ESET website. There are 2 decisions to make: whether to join ESET’s data sharing scheme, and whether to detect potentially unwanted programs. Both are clearly explained by the setup wizard:

ESET Internet Security

Finding essential features

Security status: This is shown at the top of the program window.

Scans: A full scan can be run from the Scan your computer button, while custom scans are available by clicking Computer Scan in the menu panel on the left-hand side of the window. You can set a scheduled scan by clicking Tools, More tools, Scheduler. You can scan a drive, folder or file by right-clicking it in Windows Explorer and clicking Scan with ESET Internet Security:

ESET Internet Security

Update: There is an Update link in the menu panel on the left-hand side of the window.

Subscription information: this is shown at the bottom of the window.

Help: various help and support options can be found by clicking Help and support in the left-hand menu panel.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the status display shows a clear warning:

ESET Internet Security

The protection can be reactivated by clicking Enable Antivirus and antispyware protection.

One example alert displayed when ESET Internet Security detects a malicious program is shown below:

ESET Internet Security

The message closes automatically after about 10 seconds. You do not need to do anything.

If you should download a potentially unwanted program, ESET will display the alert shown below:

ESET Internet Security

You need to decide whether or not you want to keep the program; the alert is shown until you click on either Clean or Ignore.

What are the program’s help features like?

Clicking Help and support, Open help in the program window opens ESET’s online help pages, which provide comprehensive, illustrated instructions for using the program. Two manuals are also available to download from the same page as the program installer. The concise Quick Start Guide and the comprehensive User Guide are both very clearly laid out and well illustrated with screenshots. Finally, there is a searchable knowledge base.

Awards

TOP RATED

GOLD

GOLD

F-Secure SAFE

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

Vista, 7, 8.1, 10

What features does the program have?

F-Secure SAFE is an antivirus program that includes a management interface for Windows Firewall. For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

https://www.f-secure.com/en/web/home_global/internet-security?icid=1694

What we liked about the program

F-Secure SAFE is straightforward to install and use. The malware detection alerts are very clear, and are displayed until you close them, giving you time to read the message.

Tips for users

If a potentially unwanted program is detected, taking the default action (handle automatically) means you do not have to make a decision about whether the program is safe to run.

Installing the product

To install F-Secure SAFE, you need to create an online account and log in. You then click Add device and Install on this device, which downloads the installer file. The setup wizard asks you to confirm the type of device you are using (e.g. Windows or Mac computer) and gives you the option of joining F-Secure’s Security Cloud data-sharing scheme.

Finding essential features

Security status: This is shown with text and a graphic in the main pane of the program window.

Scans: clicking Virus scan in the main pane of the program window runs a quick scan. Alternatively, you can click Tools, Full computer scan to run a complete scan. Clicking Settings, Scheduled scanning lets you configure a scheduled scan. You can also scan a drive, folder or file by right-clicking it in Windows Explorer and then clicking Scan Folders for Viruses and Spyware:

F-Secure SAFE

Update: you can update malware signatures by clicking Tools, Check for updates.

Subscription information: this is shown in the main pane of the program window.

Help: clicking the ? symbol, then Help opens the local help feature.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the text and graphic in the status display change to show this:

F-Secure SAFE

Additionally, a pop-up warning is shown in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen:

F-Secure SAFE

The protection can be reactivated by clicking Turn on.

One example alert displayed when F-Secure SAFE detects a malicious program is shown below:

F-Secure SAFE

The message box is shown until you click Close. You do not need to take any further action. If you should download a potentially unwanted program, F-Secure will show the following dialog box:

F-Secure SAFE

Clicking OK will let F-Secure take the recommended action. Alternatively, you can click I want to decide and choose to quarantine, delete or allow the file. The message box is displayed until you make a decision.

What are the program’s help features like?

The local help feature provides text instructions for everyday tasks:

F-Secure SAFE

There is also a searchable knowledge base on the F-Secure website.

Awards

 SILVER

Fortinet FortiClient with FortiGate

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

7, 8, 8.1, 10

What features does the program have?

Fortinet FortiClient is an antivirus program with an optional VPN component. For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

http://www.forticlient.com/

What we liked about the program

Fortinet FortiClient has all the essential features of a good antivirus program, and is simple to install and use.

Tips for users

FortiClient is intended primarily for business use, and so may be different from consumer antivirus products in some aspects. This means that it is probably better suited to expert rather than non-expert home users.

The alert shown when the program blocks a malware download states Failed to quarantine! – some uses may find this alarming. However, the program has deleted the malware and the system is safe.

Installing the product

Installation involves downloading and running the installer file; an initial scan is run before setup starts. You need to accept the licence agreement, and click Complete in the installation-type dialog.

Finding essential features

Security status: This is shown in the main pane of the program window

Scans: the Scan Now button in the bottom right-hand corner of the window, will run a quick scan; alternatively, if you click the arrow at the end of the button, a menu including full and custom scans is shown. You can schedule a scan by clicking the cogwheel icon next to Realtime Protection… and then Scheduled Scan. You can also right-click a drive, file or folder in Windows Explorer and click Scan with FortiClient AntiVirus:

Fortinet FortiClient with FortiGate

Update: We could not find a means of manually updating the malware definitions (although these are updated automatically by the program).

Subscription information: the program is free for home users, so this is not applicable

Help: Technical Documentation and Fortinet Knowledge Base can be found in the Help menu.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the Realtime Protection… status text will change to show this:

Fortinet FortiClient with FortiGate

The protection can be reactivated by clicking the cogwheel next to the status text, and then Scan files as they are downloaded or copied to my system.

One example alert displayed when FortiClient detects a malicious program is shown below:

Fortinet FortiClient with FortiGate

The warning is displayed until you click Close. You do not need to take any further action.

In our test, FortiClient did not recognise the AMTSO Potentially Unwanted Application test file.

What are the program’s help features like?

There is a comprehensive manual and also a knowledge base. Both are very much aimed at system administrators in corporate IT environments rather than home users, in keeping with the business-oriented nature of the program.

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, all 32 and 64-bit

What features does the program have?

In addition to malware protection, Kaspersky Internet Security includes a replacement firewall, software updater, vulnerability scanner, VPN and parental controls. For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

https://www.kaspersky.com/internet-security

What we liked about the program

Kaspersky Internet Security has a very clean, modern interface that makes it very easy to access important features and information. The software updater is automatic and extremely easy to use.

Tips for users

During a standard computer scan, the software updater looks for newer versions of other programs on your computer, and lets you install these with the click of a button:

Kaspersky Internet Security

Using this feature helps to keep your computer secure. Kaspersky Internet Security does not detect potentially unwanted programs by default, but you can enable this function in the settings.

Installing the product

To install Kaspersky Internet Security, download and run the setup file; the only choice you have to make is whether to join the Kaspersky Security Network (data sharing scheme). When the program first starts, a short tour of the program’s features is offered, and there is an option to block unwanted software installations.

Finding essential features

Security status: this is shown at the top of the main program window.

Scans: there is a Scan button in the main pane of the window; clicking this allows you to run full, quick, custom and scheduled scans. You can also right-click a drive, folder or file in Windows Explorer and then Scan for viruses:

Kaspersky Internet Security

Update: there is a Database Update button in the main pane of the window.

Subscription information: you can see this in the bottom right-hand corner of the program window.

Help: you can get help for the program by clicking the ? symbol in the top right-hand corner of the window.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the status display changes to warn you of this:

Kaspersky Internet Security

The protection can be reactivated by clicking Details and then Enable.

One example alert displayed when Kaspersky Internet Security detects a malicious program is shown below:

Kaspersky Internet Security

The alert closes after a few seconds. You do not need to take any action.

By default, Kaspersky Internet Security does not detect potentially unwanted programs. However, you can enable this feature under Threats and Exclusions settings. If you do this, the program will block the download of a PUP and display this warning:

Kaspersky Internet Security

The alert closes after a few seconds. You do not need to take any action.

What are the program’s help features like?

Clicking the ? button opens the program’s online help pages. These provide simple text explanations of the program’s features, and instructions for using them. There is also a searchable knowledge base, which provides step-by-step instructions for common tasks, well illustrated with screenshots.

Awards

OUTSTANDING 

 SILVER

GOLD

 BRONZE

 BRONZE

GOLD

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro Security

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

XP (32-bit only); Vista, 7, 8, 8.1; at the time of writing, Windows 10 was not listed among the supported operating systems, but Ad-Aware Pro Security worked flawlessly on our Windows 10 64-bit test system.

What features does the program have?

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro Security includes a replacement firewall as well malware protection. For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

http://www.lavasoft.com/products/ad_aware_pro.php

What we liked about the program

The program window has a modern, clean design that makes components and settings very easy to access with a single click. The manual is comprehensive, clearly laid-out and well-illustrated.

Tips for users

If you move your mouse over the blue strip at the bottom of the program window, a pop-up panel will be displayed, with icons for notifications, product information and help:

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro Security

You can use a PIN to prevent unauthorised users from disabling the program.

Installing the product

After downloading and running the setup program, you have to decide whether to install Ad-Aware Web Companion:

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro Security

At the end of the installation, the program runs a malware scan, though you can skip this if you want to. You have to restart the computer to complete the installation. When you have entered the licence key, Ad-Aware Pro will prompt you to create a PIN to prevent the settings being changed:

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro Security

Finding essential features

Security status: there is an overall status display in the top right-hand corner of the window, along with sliding switches for the individual components that show if they are active or not.

Scans: there is a Scan button on the right-hand side of the window, which runs a quick scan. Alternatively, you can click Scan Computer in the menu panel on the left, which then gives you the choice of a quick, full, custom or scheduled scan. You can also right-click a drive, folder or file in Windows Explorer and then click Scan with Ad-Aware:

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro Security

Update: you can update the malware definitions by clicking the Update link underneath Protection Summary.

Subscription information: you can see when your subscription expires by clicking App Management in the left-hand menu column.

Help: clicking Help Center in the menu panel lets you access the product manual and FAQs.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the overall status text shows a warning in red, and the slider switch for the component shows that it is off:

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro Security

The protection can be reactivated by moving the slider switch to the right.

One example alert displayed when Ad-Aware Pro Security detects a malicious program is shown below:

Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro Security

The alert closes after a few seconds. You do not need to take any action. Ad-Aware does not support the detection of AMTSO’s potentially unwanted test file

What are the program’s help features like?

There is a manual available to download from the Lavasoft website. A searchable FAQ page is also provided.

Awards

BRONZE

 BRONZE

McAfee Internet Security

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

7, 8, 8.1, 10

What features does the program have?

As well as malware protection, McAfee Internet Security includes a firewall and parental controls. For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

https://www.mcafee.com/consumer/en-us/store/m0/catalog/mis_516/mcafee-internet-security.html

What we liked about the program

The tiled interface lets you get to the most important functions and information very easily, while the Navigation Center, described below, provides an at-a-glance view of everything else.

Tips for users

The Navigation link in the top right-hand corner of the program window opens the Navigation Center, which provides an overview of the various features, functions and resources in the program:

McAfee Internet Security

Installing the product

When you have downloaded and started the installer file, the setup wizard runs a quick scan of your computer. Installation then proceeds. There are no decisions you have to make, but you need to create, or sign in with, a McAfee account at the end.

Finding essential features

Security status: this is shown at the top of the program window.

Scans: clicking Schedule and run scans on the Virus and Spyware Protection tile lets you run full, quick, custom and scheduled scans. You can also right-click a drive, folder or file in Windows Explorer and then click Scan:

McAfee Internet Security

Update: manual updates can be run by clicking the McAfee Updates tile on the home page, then Check for Updates.

Subscription information: you can find this by clicking the Your Subscription tile on the home page.

Help: there is a Help button on the right-hand side of the window near the top.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the status display will change to show that there is a problem:

McAfee Internet Security

If (and only if) the protection has been permanently disabled, and the computer has been restarted, the status display will additionally indicate what the problem is, and let you solve it providing a Turn On button:

McAfee Internet Security

One example alert displayed when McAfee Internet Security detects a malicious program is shown below:

McAfee Internet Security

The message is shown for about 20 seconds. You do not have to take any action.

If you should download a potentially unwanted program, McAfee will show the following dialog box:

McAfee Internet Security

The alert is shown until you click one of the buttons. If you click Remove, a message box will be shown:

McAfee Internet Security

This also remains until you click a button. Clicking OK will quarantine the program.

What are the program’s help features like?

Clicking Help, Help opens the program’s online support pages.

Awards

 BRONZE

Microsoft Windows Defender for Windows 10

What features does the program have?

Windows Defender for Windows 10 is a straightforward antivirus program; Microsoft’s Windows Firewall is also integrated into the operating system.

Where can I find more information about the product?

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/windows-defender

What we liked about the program

Windows Defender for Windows 10 has all the essential features of a good antivirus program in a very clear, simple interface.

Tips for users

This review relates to Windows Defender for Windows 10, which is a complete anti-malware program built into the operating system. Windows 8 and 8.1 also include a similar complete antivirus program called Windows Defender. However, in Windows 7 and Windows Vista, the integrated program called “Windows Defender” is NOT a complete antimalware program; it only protects against adware and spyware, and should be supplemented by a full antivirus program.

Installing the product

No installation is required, as the program is integrated into Windows 10. It can be activated or deactivated from Control Panel.

Finding essential features

Security status: this is shown in the main pane of the program window

Scans: The right-hand pane of the window has radio buttons for quick, full and custom scans, and a ScanNow button. You can also right-click a drive, folder or file in Windows Explorer, and scan it by clicking Scan with Windows Defender:

Microsoft Windows Defender for Windows 10

Update: there is an Update tab at the top of the window.

Subscription information: this is not applicable, as the program is free.

Help: there is a Help menu in the top right-hand corner of the window.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the status display shows a clear warning:

Microsoft Windows Defender for Windows 10

The protection can be reactivated by clicking Turn on.

One example alert displayed when Windows Defender detects a malicious program is shown below:

Microsoft Windows Defender for Windows 10

The alert closes after a few seconds. You do not need to take any action. A similar alert is shown if the AMTSO Potentially Unwanted Application Test File is downloaded.

What are the program’s help features like?

A community-based support page is provided.

GOLD

Quick Heal Total Security

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

Windows 2000 32-bit; XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, all 32 and 64-bit

What features does the program have?

As well as malware protection, Quick Heal Total Security includes parental controls and a replacement firewall.

Where can I find more information about the product?

http://www.quickheal.com/quick-heal-total-security#simple1

What we liked about the program

Quick Heal Total Security comes with a very clean and modern design that makes most features very easy to access. The status report and malware alerts are very clear.

Tips for users

The file that you download from the Quick Heal website is not the installer file itself, but a downloader which downloads the installer to your Desktop. When this is done, the installer file starts the setup wizard after running a Quick Scan. Pop-up messages display links to security-related articles on the Quick Heal website.

Installing the product

There are no decisions you have to make to install the product, although a couple of options are provided for expert users. You have to register the product at the end of the process.

Finding essential features

Security status: This is shown in the main window.

Scans: If you click the Scan button in the bottom right-hand corner of the window, a scan menu is displayed, with various scan options including full and custom scans. You can schedule a scan by clicking Files and Folders on the home page, then Scan Schedule. If you right-click a drive, folder or file in Windows Explorer, you can scan it by clicking Quick Heal Total Security Scan:

Quick Heal Total Security

Update: to run a manual update of the malware definitions, you need to use a separate Quick Heal program called Quick Update. You can find this in the Windows Start Menu/Screen under All ProgramsQuick Heal Total Security.

Subscription information: you can see this by clicking the Help menu in the top right-hand corner of the window, then About.

Help: click HelpHelp.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the below status display shows this clearly:

Quick Heal Total Security

The protection can be reactivated by clicking Resolve Now.

One example alert displayed when Quick Heal Total Security detects a malicious program is shown below:

Quick Heal Total Security

The alert closes automatically after a few seconds. You do not need to do anything. If you should download a potentially unwanted program, this will also be deleted and a similar alert shown.

If you accidentally access a phishing page, Quick Heal will block the page and show this alert in the browser window:

Quick Heal Total Security

What are the program’s help features like?

The local help window provides simple text instructions and explanations for the program’s features:

Quick Heal Total Security

There is also an FAQ page on the vendor’s website.

Awards

 SILVER

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10
Also compatible with Windows Server operating systems from Windows Server 2003 onwards

What features does the program have?

Sophos Endpoint Protection includes an optional replacement firewall in addition to malware protection.        For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

https://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/endpoint-antivirus.aspx

What we liked about the program

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control is well suited to its target business environment.

Tips for users

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control is designed for use in businesses environments where it is managed from a central console. Consequently, it may differ from typical consumer security products in some aspects of design and usage.

Installing the product

Running the installer file initially unpacks the installation files into a local folder. The setup wizard then starts. There are a few options but no decisions have to be made, default options can be left as they are.

Finding essential features

Security status: this is shown in the status panel in the top left-hand corner of the program window.

Scans: There is a Scan my computer button in the main pane of the window, which runs a default scan. Clicking Scans in the same place allows the user to run custom and scheduled scans. It is also possible to right-click a drive, folder or file in Windows Explorer, and click

Scan with Sophos Anti-Virus:

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control

Update: Malware definitions can be updated manually by right-clicking the System Tray icon, then Update now.

Subscription information: this is not shown.

Help: there is a Help button in the toolbar.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If the real-time protection is disabled, the text in the Status panel changes to show this:

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control

To reactivate the protection, you have to click Configure anti-virus and HIPS, on-access scanning, and click Enable…

One example alert displayed when Sophos Endpoint Protection detects a malicious program is shown below:

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control

The alert is shown for a few seconds. You do not need to take any action. A similar alert is shown when a potentially unwanted program is detected.

What are the program’s help features like?

The Help link opens the product’s local help feature, which provides simple text explanations for essential features and tasks:

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control

A knowledge base is also provided on the Sophos website.

Awards

 SILVER

Tencent PC Manager

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

This is not stated by the vendor, but Tencent PC Manager worked flawlessly on our Windows 7 and Windows 10 64-bit test systems.

What features does the program have?

PC Manager is a straightforward antivirus program.

Where can I find more information about the product?

http://www.pcmgr-global.com/

What we liked about the program

Installation of the program is very quick and simple, and the program itself is extremely easy to use. Malware alerts are very obvious, and are displayed until you close them.

Tips for users

The nature of the program means that it is probably better suited to expert users than the average home user. There is no help feature – something non-expert users might well miss; additionally, the status display is not part of the main program window, and does not produce any kind of alert if protection is disabled. During our tests, we noticed that Tencent does not scan files while copying but only if they are executed or downloaded via a supported browser.

Installing the product

To install Tencent PC Manager, you just need to download and run the installer from the vendor’s website. There are no decisions to make.

Finding essential features

Subscription information: this is not applicable, as the program is free.

Security status: the main program window does not have a status display; if real-time protection is disabled, the program does not show any obvious alert. There is in fact a status display, but it can only be accessed by right-clicking the System Tray icon and clicking Active Defense:

Tencent PC Manager

This then opens a separate window with the overall status and status of individual components:

Tencent PC Manager

Scans: There is a Quick Scan button in the top right-hand corner of the program window. Clicking the arrow to the right of this lets you run a full or custom scan instead.

Additionally, you can right-click a drive, folder or file in Windows Explorer and Scan (PC Manager):

Tencent PC Manager

Update: these can be run by clicking the “hamburger” menu in the top right-hand corner of the window, and Check for update:

Tencent PC Manager

Help: we could not find any help or support features.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, no alert of any kind is shown by the program. One example alert displayed when Tencent PC Manager detects a malicious program is shown below:

Tencent PC Manager

The alert is shown until you click I know. You do not need to take any action. A similar alert is shown for potentially unwanted programs.

What are the program’s help features like?

We could not find any help or support features.

Awards

TOP RATED

 SILVER

GOLD

ThreatTrack VIPRE Internet Security Pro

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

Vista, 7, 8, 10

What features does the program have?

As well as malware protection, VIPRE Internet Security Pro includes a replacement firewall. For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

https://www.vipreantivirus.com/home-antivirus/internet-security-pro.aspx

What we liked about the program

The most important features are shown on the home page, and the user interface is very clean and modern.

Tips for users

The minimalist design of the program’s home page means that it is not always clear where to find some features (e.g. help). However, clicking on the tabs MyVIPRE (=home), Account and Manage at the top lets you locate all the features and functions on these pages.

The alert in the status display when real-time protection is turned off is rather subtle, so you should check carefully to see that all is well when you open the program.

Installing the product

To install VIPRE Internet Security Pro, you just need to download and run the installer file. There are no decisions to make. When installation is complete, a pop-up will ask you whether you the network you are currently connected to is private or public:

ThreatTrack VIPRE Internet Security Pro

Finding essential features

Security status: this is shown in the main program window

Scans: the Scan button on the home page lets you choose from full, quick and custom scans. There is another button just to the right of it for scheduling scans. You can also scan a drive, folder or file by right-clicking it in Windows Explorer and clicking Scan with Vipre:

ThreatTrack VIPRE Internet Security Pro

Updates: there is an Updates button in the main program window.

Subscription information: you can see this by clicking on Account at the top of the window.

Help: this can be found by clicking Manage, VIPRE Help.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the status display changes subtly to show this:

ThreatTrack VIPRE Internet Security Pro

The protection can be reactivated by clicking Turn On.

One example alert displayed when VIPRE Internet Security Pro detects a malicious program is shown below:

ThreatTrack VIPRE Internet Security Pro

The alert closes after a few seconds. You do not need to take any action. A Similar alert is shown for a potentially unwanted program.

What are the program’s help features like?

The VIPRE Help link on the Account page opens the local help window, which has simple text instructions and explanations for the program’s features:

ThreatTrack VIPRE Internet Security Pro

The Support Center link opens the program’s support pages on the vendor’s website.

Awards

TOP RATED

BRONZE

Trend Micro Internet Security

Which versions of Windows does it work with?

Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10

What features does the program have?

In addition to malware protection, Trend Micro Internet Security provides parental controls. For full details of all the features included in the product, please click the link to the product’s web page below.

Where can I find more information about the product?

http://www.trendmicro.com/us/home/products/software/internet-security/index.html

What we liked about the program

The program window is simply and cleanly laid out. The malware and status alerts are very clear, and persist until you actively close them, meaning you have time to read them.

Tips for users

After you download the product, a web page is displayed that includes a video showing how to install the product.

Installing the product

To install Trend Micro Internet Security, you just need to download and run the installer file from the vendor’s website. There are no decisions to make. When setup is complete, a wizard runs that explains ransomware and lets you choose a folder to protect, so that ransomware cannot change the files within it. The Windows Documents folder is suggested, although you can change this to any folder you want.

Finding essential features

Security status: this is shown on the home page

Scans: Clicking the circular Scan button in the middle of the window runs a quick scan. Alternatively, you can click the little arrow to the right of this, and a menu with full and custom scan options is shown. You can also right-click a drive, folder or file in Windows Explorer and then click Scan for Security Threats:

Trend Micro Internet Security

Update: this is not applicable, as the program uses cloud-based malware definitions

Subscription information: this is shown below the status display in the middle of the window.

Help: clicking the ? symbol at the top of the window, then Product Support, opens the program’s support pages on the Trend Micro website.

How does the program warn you about problems and threats?

If real-time protection is disabled, the status display changes to show this:

Trend Micro Internet Security

A pop-up alert is also shown in the bottom right-hand corner of the program window:

Trend Micro Internet Security

The protection can be reactivated by by clicking Enable Now in the main program window. One example alert displayed when Trend Micro Internet Security detects a malicious program is shown below:

Trend Micro Internet Security

The message box is shown until you click OK. You do not need to do anything. If you should download a potentially unwanted program, Trend Micro takes the same action as for malware.

What are the program’s help features like?

The support pages provide a searchable FAQ.

Awards

GOLD

Feature List

Feature List

Notes

The following is provided to help non-expert users understand the terms we have used in this report. It is by no means a complete or detailed dictionary of security-related terminology.

Antimalware program: see antivirus program

Antivirus program: an application that protects your computer against malicious programs (malware). These days, antivirus programs guard against all types of malware, including worms and Trojans.

Application/App: a piece of software that carries out a specific task, e.g. Microsoft Word, Mozilla Firefox, Apple iTunes.

Download: to copy a file (e.g. picture, music track or program installer) from an Internet server to your computer, usually by clicking on a link in a web page or email.

Firewall: a program (or physical device) that controls communications between your computer the Internet or local area network. Amongst other things, it helps prevent hackers from gaining access to your PC.

Install: to make a new antivirus program/security suite work on your computer, the program file that you have downloaded or got on CD-ROM has to be run; this registers and activates the program on your system, and provides shortcuts with which you can open its main window.

Internet security suite: an antivirus program that includes additional features such as a firewall.

Logs: a feature of antivirus programs that keeps records of malware detections, scans run, and updates received.

Mail protection: a feature of antivirus programs which scans incoming email for malicious attachments or links and blocks any it finds before you can access them. It is only relevant if you use an email program such as Windows Mail, Thunderbird or Outlook. It does not apply if you access your email using a browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, and Firefox). However, in this case other features of the antivirus program will still protect you against threats in emails.

Malware: any type of clearly malicious software which can e.g. damage your computer, allow hackers to remotely control it, or steal personal data. Viruses, worms and Trojans are all examples of malware.

Malware definitions/malware signatures: information about malicious programs (malware) which is used by antivirus programs to detect threats.

Phishing: a means of stealing usernames, passwords and other security-related information used to access e.g. Internet banking websites. This is done by tricking the user into going to a fake copy of the website and entering the necessary security details to log on, allowing the criminals to steal these.

Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA): a program which is not malware (clearly malicious) but which some people would nonetheless not want to have on their computers. PUAs include adware (which may e.g. change your home page without asking permission), and legitimate programs (e.g. for remote control) which could be misused by hackers for criminal purposes.

Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP): see Potentially Unwanted Application

Program: see Application/App

Quarantine: when antivirus programs detect a file on your computer that is believed to be malicious, they can store it safely in quarantine so that it can be further analysed without posing a threat.

Real-time protection: a feature of antivirus programs which constantly watches for malicious programs (malware) entering your computer via e.g. the Internet, local area network or USB stick. If real-time protection is disabled or malfunctions, the computer is effectively unprotected during normal use.

Scan: a feature of antivirus programs, which actively searches your computer for malicious programs (malware). Most antivirus programs allow the user to scan the entire computer, or just a specific area, such as a USB stick. NB: some antivirus vendors may use the term on-access scan to mean real-time protection.

Scheduled scan: a computer scan which is set to run automatically on a schedule, e.g. every evening at 10pm.

Trojan: a malicious program (malware) which tricks the user into running it, by pretending to be a legitimate program such as a game.

Update: a feature of antivirus programs which allows them to get the most recent information over the Internet. The term is usually used to mean updating malware definitions, but can also mean updating the antivirus program itself.

Virus: a specific type of malicious program (malware). The term may be used by some people to mean any or all types of malware, although this is not technically correct.

Virus definitions/virus signatures: see malware definitions

Web protection: a feature of antivirus programs which helps protect you against threats from web pages. It can block e.g. phishing pages and sites known to distribute malicious programs (malware), and detect and block any inadvertent downloads of malware before they reach your computer.

Worm: a specific type of malicious program (malware)

Windows Administrator Account: an account (name that you log on with) that gives you complete control of the computer, and lets you e.g. install and uninstall programs.

Windows Standard User Account: an account (name that you log on with) that allows you to change your own personal preferences, but not change system settings or install/uninstall programs.

Protection features included in the Windows operating system

Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10 include both the Windows Firewall, and a program called Windows Defender that provides basic protection against malicious/unwanted programs. We test Microsoft’s “out-of-box” protection in our Main Test Series, to help readers decide whether installing a third-party antivirus program could provide more effective protection.

NB: In Windows Vista and Windows 7, Windows Defender only detects spyware and adware; installing the optional Microsoft Security Essentials update provides similar protection to that incorporated into Windows 8/8.1 and Windows 10. To check which version of Windows you have on your computer, first press the Windows Key on your keyboard (examples shown below):

Then type winver and press the enter key on your keyboard. The Windows version will then be displayed (example shown below):

Copyright and Disclaimer

This publication is Copyright © 2017 by AV-Comparatives ®. Any use of the results, etc. in whole or in part, is ONLY permitted after the explicit written agreement of the management board of AV-Comparatives prior to any publication. AV-Comparatives and its testers cannot be held liable for any damage or loss, which might occur as result of, or in connection with, the use of the information provided in this paper. We take every possible care to ensure the correctness of the basic data, but a liability for the correctness of the test results cannot be taken by any representative of AV-Comparatives. We do not give any guarantee of the correctness, completeness, or suitability for a specific purpose of any of the information/content provided at any given time. No one else involved in creating, producing or delivering test results shall be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damage, or loss of profits, arising out of, or related to, the use or inability to use, the services provided by the website, test documents or any related data.

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AV-Comparatives
(February 2017)