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ESET makes what I believe to be the best antivirus application, and last week they announced that they really had something to be proud of. They earned their 50th VB100 award, which came from a test for their ESET Security offering on Ubuntu Linux Server. What’s even more amazing is that ESET has only failed three times when being tested a total of 53 times:

  • Failure 1 (February 1998) – NOD-iCE 7.19
  • Failure 2 (November 2000) – NOD32 1.47
  • Failure 3 (April 2002) – NOD32 1.19

The test checks to see whether antivirus applications can detect the “in the wild” viruses, which shouldn’t be too tough since it’s looking for virus signatures that already exist. The tough part, however, is that in order to pass the antivirus program cannot return any false positives. By that they mean it cannot identify a clean file as being a virus.

You may or may not be impressed with how well they’ve done, but when putting it up against some of the industry-leading security companies I think you’ll understand why this is such a big deal. Here’s a list of stats I assembled from several companies that regularly participate in the VB100, and they are sorted according to the percentage of tests they have passed (best ones first):

Name Passed Failed Pass Rate
ESET 50 3 94.3%
Symantec 44 6 88.0%
Sophos 41 15 73.2%
Kaspersky 42 16 72.4%
CA eTrust 34 13 72.3%
Norman 39 16 70.9%
BitDefender 17 7 70.8%
McAfee 35 20 63.6%
FRISK 20 13 60.6%
Trend Micro 16 11 59.3%
F-Secure 29 24 54.7%
Alwil Avast 25 22 53.2%
AVG Grisoft 22 22 50.0%

ESET and Symantec are the only two that managed to score above a 75%, and both of them deserve credit for that. Congrats to ESET for being the first company to hit 50 passed tests!