Saturday, January 1, 2011

Security Update: Windows 7

I was installing Windows 7, and decided to review the current situation in the area of security software.  This post summarizes what I found.

I was concerned about the possibility that some reviewers would be influenced by advertisers, so I started with  From their list of security software reviews, I went to the most recent AV-Test report.  Its top five antivirus offerings for Windows 7 in terms of protection, in descending order, were AVG Internet Security 9.0, G Data Internet Security 2010/2011, Panda Internet Security 2010, Norton Internet Security 2010, and F-Secure Internet Security 2010/2011.  The top five in terms of repair were Avira Premium Security Suite 10.0, Kaspersky Internet Security 2010, Panda Internet Security 2010, Eset Smart Security 4.2, and F-Secure Internet Security 2010/2011.  The top five in terms of usability (which presumably included interference with other programs and other hassles) were BitDefender Internet Security Suite 2010/2011, F-Secure Internet Security 2010/2011, G Data Internet Security 2011, Kaspersky Internet Security 2010, and Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0.

I decided to treat protection and repair as two parts of the larger issue of effectiveness.  In terms of effectiveness, then, the programs appearing on both of those lists were Panda Internet Security 2010 and F-Secure Internet Security 2010/2011.  Of those two, only F-Secure also appeared among the usability top five.

The AV-Test report was cited by reviewers at various commercial sites, which nevertheless came up with somewhat different lists.  At TopTenReviews, the top five were BitDefender Antivirus, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, Webroot AntiVirus, Norton AntiVirus, and Eset Nod32 Antivirus.  The only one not having a perfect score on the three criteria considered by AV-Test (above) was Eset, on protection.  I also looked at CNET, which offered lengthy reviews of each program.  From their list of kinds of antivirus and filtering programs, I looked particularly at the Antivirus and Desktop Firewall categories.  The most recent review in either category was about 15 months old, which seemed ancient in antivirus terms.  Ranked by editors, the antivirus programs to which they gave four out of five stars (leaving out duplicates from earlier years) were Norton AntiVirus 2010, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6, McAfee VirusScan Professional 8.0, and McAfee Internet Security Suite 6.0.  At PCMag, the antivirus programs scoring at least 4.5 stars (excluding previous years' versions of the same programs) were Ad-Aware Free Internet Security 9.0, Ad-Aware Pro Internet Security 9.0, Norton AntiVirus 2011, Norton 360 Version 4.0, and Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper 2011.  Security suites (drawn from an apparently overlapping list) getting that score were Norton Internet Security 2011, Norton 360 Version 4.0, ZoneAlarm Extreme Security, and Webroot AntiVirus with AntiSpyware 6.0.

I decided to treat PCMag as authoritative among commercial sites.  Their list diverged almost completely from the AV-Test list shown above.  I decided to rely on AV-Test above PCMag.  From their list, F-Secure Internet Security 2011 seemed to be the best program.  I wondered what would have happened if AV-Test had tested Ad-Aware Free Internet Security 9.0.  CNET's review noted that the free version was not able to scan networked drives, a killer for my purposes.  It looked like I would be shopping around for a copy of F-Secure Internet Security 2011, available from their website for $40.



I decided to accept, once again, the claim that ThreatFire provides non-conflicting additional protection when used alongside another antivirus program. See