One thing I always hate to do is to find the best Antivirus program that will protect my computer. The two best paid versions that I have always heard about are Kaspersky and NOD32. For free software, I always look towards Avast or AVG. Of course, that is what I knew before but it looks like there may be some new people climbing the ladder.




Virus.gr tested quite a few different software companies to see how they would stack up against each other. How did the 147,000+ virus test pan out? Here are the results (the ones in bold are the ones I expected to do good):

 

1. Kaspersky version 6.0.0.303 – 99.62%

 
2. Active Virus Shield by AOL version 6.0.0.299 – 99.62%
3. F-Secure 2006 version 6.12.90 – 96.86%
4. BitDefender Professional version 9 – 96.63%
5. CyberScrub version 1.0 – 95.98%
6. eScan version 8.0.671.1 – 95.82%
7. BitDefender freeware version 8.0.202 – 95.57%
8. BullGuard version 6.1 – 95.57%
9. AntiVir Premium version 7.01.01.02 – 95.45%
10. Nod32 version 2.51.30 – 95.14%
ESET - Download NOD32 Here!
 
11. AntiVir Classic version 7.01.01.02 – 94.26%
12. ViruScape 2006 version 1.02.0935.0137 – 93.87%
13. McAfee version 10.0.27 – 93.03%
14. McAfee Enterprise version 8.0.0 – 91.76%
15. F-Prot version 6.0.4.3 beta – 87.88%
16. Avast Professional version 4.7.871 – 87.46%
17. Avast freeware version 4.7.871 – 87.46%

18. Dr. Web version 4.33.2 – 86.03%
19. Norman version 5.90.23 – 85.65%
20. F-Prot version 3.16f – 85.14%
21. ArcaVir 2006 – 83.44%
22. Norton Professional 2006 – 83.18%
23. AVG Professional version 7.1.405 – 82.82%
24. AVG freeware version 7.1.405 – 82.82%

25. Panda 2007 version 2.00.01 – 82.23%
26. Virus Chaser version 5.0a – 81.47%
27. PC-Cillin 2006 version 14.10.1051 – 80.90%
28. VBA32 version 3.11.0 – 79.12%
29. ViRobot Expert version 4.0 – 76.22%
30. UNA version 1.83 – 75.44%

There’s the list and as you can see there are several towards the top that really shocked me. The one I am most happy about is the Active Virus Shield by AOL because it is offered to the public for free. Sure it branded as AOL but underneath it is all Kaspersky and this goes to show it.

I expected NOD32, Avast, and AVG to perform a little better than they did but NOD32 and AVG definitely fought back at the heuristic testing. Heuristic testing is extremely important because that is what gives an Antivirus the ability to catch a virus even it is not in the database. Here are the top 10 from that list:

1. Nod32 2.51.30 – 41503
2. Vba32 3.11.0 – 32911
3. VirIT 6.1.9 – 16469
4. AVG 7.1.405 Professional – 13624
5. AVG 7.1.405 freeware – 13624

6. Rising AV 18.41.30 – 12214
7. McAfee 10.0.27 – 10708
8. Ikarus 5.19 – 7191
9. F-Prot 6.0.4.3 beta – 6247
10. Ukrainian National Antivirus 1.83 – 5506

One thing is for sure and that is Norton needs some work for as much as it costs. So many people rely on Symantec’s software because that is what comes installed on most computers but it obviously won’t provide the protection that is needed.

I fix computers for people all of the time and when I find that their Antivirus subscriptions have expired I normally install Avast. After seeing these tests it definitely makes me ponder using Active Virus Shield by AOL because of the high ranking. Avast does have the Web Shield which stops malicious attacks through your Web browser and I really like that feature. I wonder what is more important, the overall ability to find a virus or being able to block Web attacks?

Update:
For more great antivirus and firewall information, please read our most recent article. It highlights many of the free antivirus, firewall, and anti-spyware solutions that are currently available to you.

Update 2:
We have done a follow-up article on this one with more up-to-date rankings for the antivirus software listed here. In that article you’ll also find hyperlinks to each of the antivirus solutions listed.

Update 3:
Unfortunately AOL’s Active Virus Shield is no longer available.

Update 4:
There are some new stats available as of December 6th, 2007: VB100 test and Retrospective test. The first test checks antivirus applications for known viruses, while the retrospective test sees how well the apps can do against “unknown” viruses.