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Which Security Suite for Windows Provides Sustained Protection?

In its recent endurance test, which was carried out over a period of 6 months, AV-TEST tested 18 Internet security suites for their protection, performance and usability. The test shows: more than two-thirds of the protection packages can be recommended, but the best performance does cost some money. Paid software packages are also the most secure.

18 protection packages for Windows in the endurance test from January to June 2017.

Security suites put to an endurance test: A total of 5 packages share the top of the table with 17.5 to 18 points.

Detection rates in the endurance test: The packages from Bitdefender, F-Secure, Kaspersky and Symantec did not allow any intruders to slip through the net.

Kaspersky Internet Security: 6-month test period, many individual tests and 18 points – it doesn't get any better than this.

Norton Security: Symantec's protection package is a mere two-tenths from the top score: an excellent 17.8 out of 18 points.

Trend Micro Internet Security: The security package has an equivalent score to the solution from Symantec and is only a fraction behind the top score in the test.

So which security package actually provides the best sustained protection? This question is answered by the latest table with 18 Internet security suites in an endurance test. For a period of six months, from January to June 2017, the lab at AV-TEST examined the protection suites in terms of their protection, performance and usability. In the test, the packages in each test category were able to score 6 points, thus a maximum of 18 points. The results speak for themselves: More than two-thirds of the system watchdogs offer really good protection. Their results range from 16 to 18 percent.

Strong overall performance of the packages

The 13 packages in the test with more than 16 points provide good protection, put a low load on the system and do not cause any annoyance through false positives. The Internet Security suite from Kaspersky Lab performed best, achieving the maximum point score of 18. With 17.8 points, the solutions from Symantec and Trend Micro followed very close behind. This is followed by Bitdefender at 17.7 and Avira at 17.5 points. A very crowded field, jostling for front-runner positions.

The packages of F-Secure, AVG, Avast, BullGuard, G Data, Microworld and McAfee comprised the reliable midfield, from 16.8 to 16.1 points. The solutions of ThreatTrack, ESET and Microsoft are displayed in the table at scores below 16 points. The package of Comodo reaches an average score of only 13.6 out of 18 possible points.

Focusing on protection

The most important test area is naturally the protection function of the security suites. From January to June, all products were required to demonstrate their protection capability in two detection tests. In six real-world tests, 570 new, still unknown, malware samples, were deployed. In the six reference tests, each package was required to detect and eliminate nearly 34,000 known malware threats. The solutions of Bitdefender, F-Secure, Kaspersky Lab and Symantec do an absolutely flawless job in this category. This is followed by the packages from Trend Micro and Avast with small detection errors. The latter is the best free protection software in the endurance test.

Now the question was whether the security packages also required a large share of system resources and therefore put a load on PC performance. This question was resolved in the second test segment on speed.

Does good protection come at the expense of performance?

Most products that received a 6 in detection also earned an additional 6 points in the category of speed ratings in the lab: Bitdefender, Kaspersky Lab, Symantec and Trend Micro. They demonstrate that even top protection does not have to limit performance.

F-Secure requires for its superb protection somewhat more PC performance and achieves even 5.5 out of 6 points. By comparison, the best free protection program from Avast requires relatively high system performance for excellent protection. As a result, this package earned only 4.7 out of 6 points. In relation to protection, that is only the lower third in the endurance test. This was also the range of G Data, ESET and especially Comodo software. They noticeable slowed down the test PCs and as a result received only 3.2 points.

Often unnoticed: usability

Many a protection solution is constantly sounding an alarm, suddenly identifying normal programs as threats and no longer allowing access to certain websites. The lab evaluated all these items when it comes to tests in the usability category. Because: if a protection solution does nothing but annoy users, they will quickly lose confidence.

That is why the lab goes to quite great lengths to test this category. With all the solutions in the endurance test, it visited 1,500 normal websites and accompanied hundreds of program installations. During the friend-or-foe detection test, all the security suites within the six months had to scan and detect as friendly nearly 4 million files.

The result is really good: Whereas all the protection tools were flawless when visiting websites, there were multiple minor errors in friend-or-foe detection. That is why 16 out of the 18 system protectors received 5.5 to 6 points. The poorest-performing values were only as low as 5.2 to 5.3 points.

In the long run, only good protection helps

The endurance test makes choosing the best protection package a difficult task, as there is a wide selection of dependable products. Those who go according to the overall point score are advised to choose the security solutions from Kaspersky Lab, Symantec, Trend Micro, Bitdefender and Avira. They reached between 17.5 and 18 maximum points.

The products that immediately follow, from F-Secure, AVG, AhnLab and Avast, however, have nothing to be ashamed of with their 16.5 to 16.8 points. Above all, F-Secure and Avast achieved a full 6-point score in the category of protection in the endurance test.

The best free package comes from Avast. However, it does require significantly more system resources than other purchase products. The internal protection solution from Windows, Defender, at 15.5 points finishes among the last products at the bottom of the table. Thus, the product's only claim to fame is that after all, it is better than the package from Comodo.

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