That being said, it's always interesting to see how virus scanners stack up against today's threats of viruses, malware, spyware, and other 'non-wanted' things on your system which are potentially malicious. The problem is that we have so many blended threats now, from drive-by installs to viruses which can trigger no anomalous activity and act as root-kits.
There is a place on the web that does nothing but compare anti-virus vendors and their ability to protect you. If you're interested in the AC-Comparatives results, you can check them out at this link HERE.
Allow me to summarize what's in the most recent report. The latest report published on May 2007 investigated Proactive/Retrospective testing of on-demand detection of viruses and malware. They also included the False-positive testing and some tests for scanning speed determination. Here are some notes from the test report:
- A total of 17 products tested (including every one I've ever heard of and then some)
- Only 1 product earned the prestigious Advanced+ certification (NOD32 Anti-Virus)
- Microsoft's OneCare is no longer the bottom-feeder (dead last) as it was on the last report - it got a "Standard" rating this time
- AVG AntiVirus is dead last in detection (ouch)
- The highest A/V scanner detected just about 84% of new backdoors, trojans and other yet-unidentified malware (AVG scored 10%... ouch)
- The highest detection rate of "all new samples" was AVIRA & Fortinet at 71%, AVG got 8%
- Fortinet rules the false-positive arena with >1,000+ false positives (the best was Symantec with zero), the next highest was Dr. Web with 36fp's
- The fastest scanner was AVIRA, at around 7.49MB/sec, the slowest was TrustPort at 1.21MB/sec
[ Please read the full report for more details, etc that I've omitted in summarizing ]
So - what does this all tell us? For me, it tells me all virus scanners are crap, and the A/V companies are lying through their teeth to get us to buy their products. Next time you see a virus scanner claiming to detect 100% of the known and unknown threats... LAUGH, then cry a little.