Test: 22 Internet Security Suites under Windows 10
The lab at AV-TEST examined 22 security packages for Windows 10 in July and August. As always, the experts focused their attention on protection, performance, and usability, which in particular reveals any false alarms. The findings in this test are remarkable, as seldom have there been so many TOP PRODUCT ratings. The rating is only awarded if a product achieves 17.5 or the top score of 18 points. Over two-thirds of the products received this rating from the lab – congratulations!
The other six packages still managed to earn between 16.5 and 12 points. The test involved the Internet security suites and antivirus protection packages from AhnLab, Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, BullGuard, Cylance, ESET, F-Secure, G Data, Heimdal Security, K7 Computing, Kaspersky, Malwarebytes, McAfee, Microsoft, Microworld, NortonLifeLock, PC Matic, Protected.net, Trend Micro, and VIPRE Security.
The best are dubbed TOP PRODUCT
When users talk about security packages for Windows, now it is no longer about the question "Do you even need a security package?" but rather "Which one is the best?" The choice is now no longer difficult. The lab conducts evaluations in the three categories of protection, performance, and usability, awarding a maximum of 6 points per category. In this test, 8 products achieved the top score of 18 points. They come from AhnLab, Avira, F-Secure, G Data, Kaspersky, McAfee, Microsoft, and NortonLifeLock.
The solutions from Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, BullGuard, ESET, Protected.net, Trend Micro, and VIPRE Security followed with 17.5 points. For achieving between 18 and 17.5 points, these products, in addition to being recognized for "Certified Security", also earned the label of TOP PRODUCT.
Security packages for Windows 10
Malware detection put to the test under Windows 10
Nearly 14,000 attacks in the test lab – per product
In testing the protection capability of each product, the lab always uses the latest and highly dangerous malware. For more meaningful results, each test is repeated after one month. In the so-called real-world test, the lab uses 0-day malware that is always freshly harvested from websites and from e-mails.
A somewhat larger reference set contains extremely dangerous threats, which have already been wreaking havoc on the Web for up to 2 weeks, however. In total, this adds up to nearly 14,000 test scenarios per tested security package.
The table with the listing of detection values shows which products completed the test segments with 100% detection. They come from Avast, AVG, Avira, Bitdefender, BullGuard, ESET, F-Secure, G Data, Kaspersky, McAfee, Microsoft, NortonLifeLock, and Trend Micro. The packages from AhnLab and Protected.net each only exhibited minor false detection in one of the four test segments.
The remaining products tested partly fail to stop the attackers in one or two tests. Cylance and Heimdal Security had some glaring problems detecting malware samples.
Hardly any system drag in the test field
Over the past years, the high system load of some security solutions was a constant source of annoyance to the testers. For the test, the lab carries out many standard operations on a reference device: loading websites, downloading tools, installing, and launching software, in addition to copying data. The time required to do so is set as a benchmark for systems with the installed products. Any unnecessary time delay is registered there, leading to a deduction in points. The good news: Already in the last tests, the testers were able to measure a noticeable improvement, which was also confirmed in this test. 21 of the 22 security solutions under examination slowed down the reference system only minimally or hardly at all. As a result, 17 products even received the full 6 points, and four an excellent score of 5.5 points in the category of performance. Only Malwarebytes received a mere 4.5 points due to an excessive system load.
G Data Internet Security
NortonLifeLock Norton 360
Kaspersky Internet Security
McAfee Total Protection
Avira Antivirus Pro
Sounding an alarm when nothing is wrong
Periodically, security packages classify harmless program files as dangerous attackers. For users, that is not only annoying but in some cases can be very tricky. Because sometimes an extremely useful tool is blocked, branded as an attacker, and users start to panic.
In the test, the lab visits 500 harmless websites with each product, and has over 60 popular program installations and launches of test candidates monitored. In addition, each security package is required to scan over 1 million malware-free files. If everything goes the way the testers expect, there are no false alarms on any of the evaluations. The results offer many users the future prospect of trouble-free product use. Only a scattered number of false positives, remarkable given over 1 million files, were triggered by 15 out of the 22 packages tested, which received the full 6 points. Bitdefender, BullGuard, Heimdal Security, and Microworld had a slightly higher error rate, but still received 5.5 points.
The packages from Malwarebytes and PC Matic wrongly flag many harmless programs and thus create frequent false positives: only 4.5 points. Cylance causes false alarms too often, thus earning only 3.5 points.
Lots of good security programs
To be sure, even this test performed over a period of two months is only a snapshot in time. But it does demonstrate the high performance of many security solutions under Windows 10 for consumer users. The highest point score of 18 was achieved by a total of 8 products, whereas 8 additional packages earned the excellent score of 17.5 points. This means that 16 out of the 22 security packages tested also earned recognition as a TOP PRODUCT, in addition to a certificate for their security. Interesting to note: Even Windows Defender Antivirus completed this test with 18 points. Looking back at the test history of the past 12 months, however, this tended to be the exception rather than the rule (History of Windows Defender Antivirus).
Many of the security packages and Internet security suites recognized offer lots of useful extra features, in addition to a high degree of security and reliability. Thus, when comparing packages with equal point scores, it is useful to look at their full range of features.