Exploring & Reviewing the Security
How We Test
Purchasing the perfect antivirus software is crucial.
Therefore we would like to be 100% clear regarding the information and method we use to pick the best antivirus program.
We use 6 variables to pick the winning software. All variables matter, but not all are equally important. Hence, the effect they have on the last score varies.
Further below, we’ll explain each of the variables in detail. But first, we would like to highlight where our information comes from:
The information for Protection, Performance, and False Positives, comes from AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. These are the two globally recognized leaders in antivirus testing.
To learn more about free AV software in 2020, see our website.
The information for your User Reviews comes from TrustPilot and the Google Play Store. Trustpilot is the most trustworthy platform on the planet in regards to the selection of objective and verified consumer reviews.
And the Google Play Store is your program shop for Android, the most used operating system for mobile phones. It’s one on of the biggest database of software reviews worldwide.
The information for Value for Money comes in the seller directly. These are the security features offered and the price asked.
The information for Supported Devices comes from the sellers directly.
How Does Antivirus and Antimalware Software Work?
Protection from Malware
Protection from malware constitutes 50% of the total score
The most significant characteristic of any cybersecurity product is, of course, the protection from malware.
Malware is a collective term that stands for a high number of cybersecurity threats, including viruses, ransomware, spyware, adware, phishing and more. So as to protect you effectively from such a wide selection of attacks, the most advanced antivirus applications utilize three different security methods. Here we provide more detail on every method.
All antivirus providers featured within this comparison have been analyzed in-depth on each of the methods.
Signature File Detection:
Signature file discovery is the most classic form of malware detection. Using this procedure, antivirus software scan documents for traces of malicious code, known as digital signatures. This scanning behavior is the reason why a lot of individuals refer to antivirus software like virus scanners.
A digital signature is a special pattern which enables security tools to recognize malware. Imagine it as the equivalent of a fingerprint a burglar would depart. Just in this case, it’s a digital fingerprint left by malware in its attempt to cause damage to you or your apparatus.
This technique of malware detection is reliable, fast, simple to operate, and scalable. However, it’s not perfect. Since it relies on cybersecurity organizations to first recognize new threats and upgrading the malware samples from the database, this method is useless against brand new malware. It’s always one step behind fresh attacks.
Consequently, cybersecurity companies have developed another kind of file detection.
Heuristic File Detection:
Heuristic file discovery is the growth of signature-based detection. It permits antivirus tools to recognize malware that hasn’t been seen before and has yet to be added to any database.
It does so by searching for behavioral patterns which are typical of malware, as opposed to malware signatures. After a file is flagged as having questionable behavior, there are generally two ways the antivirus software would proceed with its own analysis:
Document Emulation: Also known under the term “sandbox testing”. In this technique, the antivirus software will allow the malware to operate in a secure environment known as the sandbox. This is often a virtual server in which the malware may cause no damage, and the antivirus can analyze it in more detail.
In the sandbox, the potentially harmful file is examined for common malicious routines. These include rapid replication efforts, file overwrites, or any effort to hide certain files. If one of these patterns is detected, the antivirus software takes further action to eliminate the threat.
Genetic Signature Detection: New malware are often a slightly adjusted kind of existing malware. This enables the creator to reuse its malware without triggering signature-based detection.
In genetic signature detection, however, antivirus software compares the source code of potentially dangerous files with the source code of malware. If there’s a significant overlap between the two, the antivirus software takes further action to eliminate the threat.
User-Focused Protection Features:
Next to the two methods described above, there’s a third way in which antivirus programs protect users from malware. Rather than a particular method, it’s a set of features designed to protect users from downloading malware or seeing harmful sites.
If you believe about it, this is the natural evolution of the cybersecurity industry. As both malware and anti-malware become increasingly complex, cybercriminals search for other weak links in the series. And frequently this weak connection is us, the consumers.
The tools to protect users are diverse. But some of the common are:
- Web consultants that flag suspicious or harmful websites before you see them.
- WiFi security consultants that recommend you to prevent certain WiFi networks or use a VPN when connecting to them.
- Password managers help you create and store unique and highly secure passwords.
- Hardened browsers open encrypted browsers when you try to access online banking or payment tools.
Impact on Performance and Speed
Performance impact constitutes 15% of the total score
The performance effect stands for the effect of the antivirus on the operating speed of the apparatus. Every antivirus tool requires a certain quantity of resources to operate, affecting the operating speed in some manner. But some do so in more dramatic ways than others.
Performance impact can be quantified in a number of ways. The most common would be the impact on download times, load rates and the tools needed to run the program from the background.
Devices and Features
Supported devices constitute 10% of the total score
In this factor, we examine the working software the antivirus support, and which features they provide per operating program. Oftentimes, the cybersecurity businesses build complete security suites for Windows but provide considerably less for their antivirus for Mac, Android, and iOS.
There are some exceptions to this rule, however. And that’s precisely what this factor is all about.
A note on iOS:
All the antivirus programs in this listing have committed security programs for Windows, Mac, and Android, which is terrific. Two of them, but don’t have dedicated programs for iOS.
Even though it’s true that Apple has designed iOS to be exceptionally secure, users still fall into phishing traps, use dangerous passwords, or are monitored by their internet service provider.
Therefore, having an internet adviser, password manager or VPN, is at least as valuable on iOS as on any other working program.