18 Security Packages under Windows 10 Put to the Test
AV-TEST has seen a huge flurry of activity on its real-time platform, AV-ATLAS.org, in terms of spam, malware and other campaigns on the Internet. Especially during the pandemic and right around the time when the Russian war against Ukraine began, the platform's statistics showed an extreme spike in malicious spam, discovered lots of new malware and identified special campaigns. Even if some of the malicious spam or other malware was explicitly intended for Ukraine, it also ended up in Europe and the rest of the world. Especially new malware such as HermeticWiper, IsaacWiper or CaddyWiper, rely on the tried-and-true function of simply destroying data. But the latest events have also washed ransomware and nefarious links onto the shores of Internet users.
Users deploying safe security software can be somewhat more relaxed, as they are generally well protected. The latest test from AV-TEST, involving 18 security packages for Windows 10, shows whether the security software you're using will safely protect you.
18 security packages for home users put to the test
18 security packages for home users
18 security products put to the test in the lab
In this test, the lab at AV-TEST evaluated 18 security packages in terms of their protection, performance and usability. The last category primarily involved the test for false alarms. Each product was tested in two successive months, and the results were aggregated. The test with the 18 security products took place in the lab in January and February 2022 under Windows 10. Included in the test were security packages and Internet security suites from AhnLab, Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, F-Secure, G DATA, K7 Computing, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, McAfee, Microsoft, Microworld, Norton, PC Matic, Protected.net, Trend Micro and VIPRE Security.
In each test category, a product can collect up to 6 points. The best result in the test is thus 18 points. If a security product achieves 17.5 or 18 points, in addition to receiving a certificate for tested security, it also earns further recognition as a TOP PRODUCT.
In this test, a total of 14 out of the 18 security packages examined earned this sought-after recognition. The other 4 only achieved the certificate for tested security. The remarkable outcome of this test: 11 out of the 18 products evaluated garnered the highest point score of 18 points.
Secure Windows: protection
The first test phase involves the protection provided by the products. In this category, the lab tests each security package in two successive months in terms of how well it can fend off brand-new malware and also threats that have been circulating the Internet for weeks.
The table with the detection rates clearly spells out in detail how well the security packages identify and liquidate the attackers. In the test for protection, the lab always examines separately how well the products protect against new zero-day malware, and how effectively they identify and filter malware that is already more well-known. For the test, the lab uses roughly 500 samples of zero-day malware and nearly 16,000 more well-known malware samples which in these two months are used as the AV-TEST reference set.
Delivering stellar 100% detection in all test categories were the products from Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, McAfee, Microsoft, Norton, PC Matic, Trend Micro and VIPRE Security. For this, they racked up the full 6 points.
In one of the months, AhnLab, Avira, F-Secure und G DATA each committed a very slight detection error, yet still achieved the full 6 points.
K7, Microworld and Protected.net made too many errors in detection, forfeiting vital points.
Fast Windows: performance
Especially in forums, people still write that security software under Windows slows down PCs in daily use. That's why, in the category of performance, the lab always evaluates all products on whether they put the brakes on a Windows system and how many resources they consume. To do so, the testers use a standard PC and a high-end PC. Various operations are carried out on both machines, such as copying files, downloading, or installing and launching programs. The lab keeps track of the times required for this. Then it repeats all the steps with installed protection software and compares the times required. The result: none of the security packages evaluated in this test were conspicuous, slowed the system down or used too many resources. That is why all the products received the full 6 points for the performance test.
Trend Micro Internet Security
McAfee Total Protection
G DATA Total Security
Avira Internet Security for Windows
Avast Free Antivirus
Silent Windows: false alarms
In the test category of usability, the lab combines an evaluation of the security packages in terms of false alarms, as well as falsely blocking websites, applications or installations. For this test, the lab visits 500 normal websites with each installed security program, installs dozens of programs and launches them. In addition each package is required to scan over 1.2 million harmless files and to identify them as normal and innocuous. In an ideal scenario, not a single alarm is triggered throughout the entire category of usability.
For most products, there was only one single false positive or none at all: AhnLab, Avast, AVG, Avira, G DATA, Kaspersky, McAfee, Microsoft, Norton, Trend Micro, VIPRE Security and Protected.net. They all received the full 6 points.
Bitdefender, F-Secure, Malwarebytes, K7 Computing and Microworld made a few errors in friend-foe detection. This resulted in only 5.5 instead of 6 points.
PC Matic, coming in last, did identify the harmless files error-free, but it went on to block several popular software applications: receiving only 5 instead of 6 points.
The best security programs for Windows
For many manufacturers, the test in January and February 2022 of security programs for Windows 10 ranged from very good to perfect. A total of 11 out of 18 security packages achieved the top score of 18. The products came from AhnLab, Avast, AVG, Avira, G DATA, Kaspersky, McAfee, Microsoft, Norton, Trend Micro and VIPRE Security. Three additional apps still received an excellent point score of 17.5: Bitdefender, F-Secure and Malwarebytes. In addition to receiving a security certificate, all of these 14 products achieved the special accolade of TOP PRODUCT.
Many security products delivered excellent results also in terms of detecting malware samples. 11 out of the 18 test participants consistently identified all attackers 100% in both test months. However: in this test, the products were required to identify classic malware such as Trojans, bankers or worms. How well the security products fended off ransomware or data stealers, for example, was revealed in the regularly published series of sophisticated Advanced Threat Protection tests.