AV Comparatives recently conducted a test of numerous antivirus solutions. The top three overall performers--G DATA Software AntiVirusKit, AEC TrustPort Antivirus Workstation, and Avira AntiVir Personal Edition Premium--are relatively unknown in the United States.
According to the test results, G DATA AntiVirusKit detected 99.45 percent of all malware thrown at it during the tests. AEC TrustPort detected 99.36 percent, and Avira AntiVir detected 98.85 percent.
Coming in fourth in the overall ratings was F-Secure Anti-Virus with a 97.91 detection rate, and tied for fifth place were Kaspersky Lab's Kaspersky AV and MicroWorld eScan AntiVirus at 97.89 percent.
Well-known antivirus solutions ranked much lower than one might expect. Symantec Norton Antivirus detected 96.83 percent of the malware, McAfee VirusScan detected 91.63 percent, and Microsoft's new Windows Live OneCare solution detected 82.40 percent.
In specific categories of malware detection, AEC TrustPort ranked first in detecting Trojan horses, backdoors, and other similar forms of malware, and G DATA AntiVirusKit ranked second. When tested for detection rates of worms, viruses, macros, and malicious scripts, G DATA AntiVirusKit ranked first, with Kaspersky AV, F-Secure Anti-Virus, and eScan AntiVirus all tied for second place.
Malware evolves over time, so the tests by AV Comparatives are conducted periodically. In general, all of the products tested have shown an improvement in detection rates over time, with the exception of Microsoft Live OneCare because it wasn't available until recently. The most recent test, conducted in February, compared 17 different products.
AV Comparatives is a collaborative effort of several graduate students, including Andreas Clementi, Peter Stelzhammer, Jaider Manfred, Gerhard Prossliner, and Gerhard Stocker. The group has test reports available dating back to February 2004. The most recent report summary is available online in HTML format, and a complete test report is available in PDF format.