25 antivirus programs tested and compared – David Frelat (aka sir_LOIN)
NOTE 9/14: I updated this article since many readers have been asking me to test other antivirus programs, so here are 12 new AVs tested as people requested:
I get asked all the time about viruses from my students and clients, so over three years ago I started doing an IT security workshop with all my classes. One part of it is testing and trying out various antivirus programs. I personally ran all the tests myself and then the students so we could make sure the results are consistent.
- Most of the popular antivirus programs found today was used
- Every antivirus program were fully updated prior to test and set to their deepest scanning settings
- The exact virus count in the file is unknown but there are over 10,000
- The file contains many different types of viruses, trojans, worms etc
- Scans were done on a P4 2.8c with Windows XP Pro SP2
- Prices were taken from the manufacturer’s website
|McAfee VirusScan 8|
|McAfee VirusScan 10¹|
|Panda Platinum Internet Security V8.05|
|F-Secure Anti-Virus 5.41|
|Bit Defender Pro 8|
|Bit Defender Pro 9¹|
|Eset Nod32 v2.12.1|
|Eset Nod32 v2.5¹|
|Grisoft AVG Pro.V7.0.143|
|Trend Micro PC-cillin 2003|
|Trend Micro PC-cillin 2005|
|Symantec Norton 2004|
|Symantec Norton 2005|
9,386 (+549 ‘suspicious’)
|Etrust EZantivirus 2005 184.108.40.206|
|AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic 6¹|
|Virus Chaser 5¹|
|Norman Virus Control 581¹|
|eScan Virus Control 2.6.518.8¹|
|Virus Buster Pro 2005¹|
|MKS vir 2005¹|
|Bit Defender Online|
|Kaspersky Online Scan|
|Panda Activescan Online|
|Symantec Online Scan|
|Trend Micro Housecall Online|
49 (stops after a few files)
|Avast Online Scanner|
Only files under 512kb
|F-Secure Online Scan|
|Computer Associates Etrust Online Scan|
Although none of the Antivirus was perfect, some did stand out from the pack for their scanning ability, performance and ease of use:
- AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic 6 found the most viruses; Virus Buster Pro 2005 found the least
- Norton 2005 is ironic – much like viruses, it brings down to its knees even the fastest computers! A true resource hog!
- AVG Pro is overrated, in my opinion – so many people talk to me about this antivirus but it never really performed well for me, as the test shows
- Kaspersky 5 revealed that when it comes to Trojans, exotic and rare viruses, Kaspersky is the leader of the pack. It found some that none of the others did
- PC-cillin 2005 found more than almost any other desktop antivirus programs; it performs very well but could be a little faster when scanning. It’s been performing great ever since I started doing these tests over 3 years ago
The amazing thing is that Kaspersky Online Scan is my new champion – it found more than any other, including any of the desktop antivirus programs! This is just weird – I ran it on two of my computers and I got the same results. Weird! However, the bad thing is that it only scans; it doesn’t allow you to remove the viruses it found.
The best free online scan, in my opinion, is the Trend Micro PC-cillin Online Scan. It found a lot of viruses, was leaps and bounds faster to install and scan than almost all the others online scanners, allows you to remove the infected files after and it also allows you to scan only what you want, be it a file, folder, hard drive or whatever.
The others took an eternity to scan, didn’t allow removal, didn’t give choice of what to scan or just plain crashed. In their defence, I think it’s possibly because my virus file, once unzipped, is over 50 MB with over 10,000 files in it, so it’s pretty big for a browser activeX scan.
Kaspersky is, in my opinion, the best antivirus of them all. It’s been doing great in my tests for years, it isn’t a resource hog like Norton and it has a knack for finding things no other one does. This is the one that’s running on my computers.
PC-cillin has also been doing great in my tests for years. Although I find Kaspersky slightly better in terms of scanning, PC-cillin has one of the best suites available on the market – for $50, you get the antivirus, spyware scanner, firewall, antispam etc.
Eset Nod32 scanned the virus folder in 33 seconds, by far the fastest desktop AV!
Over 23 minutes for Grisoft AVG, now talk about slow!
And the winner with 10312 infected objects found: