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AV-Test issues first Windows 8 antivirus solution ratings

For the first time, independent security firm AV-Test evaluated Windows 8 antivirus solutions, testing and rating 26 antivirus programs for home users and 9 corporate security solutions.

Windows 8 virus scanners were evaluated for the first time by AV-Test Institute, an independent testing house. Using the vendors' default settings, AV-Test assessed protection, performance and usability categories before certifying 26 home user security products and nine corporate endpoint protection products. The German-based security firm ran its test throughout January and February 2013. Each product was rated with a score from zero to six in the three categories, with a total high score of 18.

Previous evaluations by AV-Test scored security solutions based on protection, repair and usability. Repair was replaced by performance this time, since AV-Test will issue "repair reports" separately to measure how well security solutions can repair Windows 8 systems that are already infected. Unlike the last two AV-Test reports, in which Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows 7 consumer users failed to pass the independent tests, this time Microsoft was awarded AV-TEST certification for Windows 8.

Antivirus solutions for home users

Microsoft's built-in Windows Defender  in Windows 8 was used as the baseline that all others were expected to surpass for consumer level tests. It scored 11.5 out of 18. Bitdefender scored a total of 17, six in both protection and usability, and five in performance.

F-Secure, G Data, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, BullGuard and Trend Micro were all ranked with the top score of six regarding protection against brand new and widespread malware infections. Protection against 0-day attacks were up across the board, with the average score going from 92% in the previous test for Windows 7 to 95% for Windows 8. Below are the top 10 home user virus scanners based on protection.

Webroot, Tencent, Bitdefender and BullGuard were ranked the top four regarding performance. This category measures how the programs impact daily computer speed. Below are the top 10 home user products based on performance.

Eight products managed a perfect score of six in the category of usability. Security software usability is ranked by how a computer is impacted in the following four ways: when websites are blocked or the software gives false warnings about a site; when legitimate software is flagged as malware during a system scan; when false warnings are triggered while installing or using legitimate software; and when the security software blocks certain actions while using or installing legitimate software. Below are the top ten home user security solutions based on usability.

Corporate antivirus solutions

Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection 2010 & 2012 acted as the baseline with a score of 12.5 for testing the nine corporate solutions. Microsoft's solution scored the lowest for protection, but managed a perfect score of six for usability. Fortinet and Symantec were the top solutions with a total score of 16.5 out 18. Webroot was ranked as the third best with a total of 15. F-Secure and Sophos both had a score of 14.5, followed by Kaspersky with 14. Trend Micro had the lowest overall score of 12, coming in below the baseline set by Microsoft's Endpoint Protection.

The best part about these stats are that the tests are conducted by an independent company. AV-Test conducts more than 3,000 individual and comparative tests every year and uses analysis tools based on its own data. "By using analysis tools that it has developed itself, AV-TEST achieves a maximum level of independence when it comes to test samples." The company added, "All analyses are based on AV-TEST's own test samples, which it has established, analyzed and processed and then compiled in one of the world's most comprehensive data collections. These test samples are then selected and processed in accordance with the respective test requirements."

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