When it comes to virus protection, there is bad and good news: The bad thing is that around 350,000 new malware and potentially unwanted applications are still appearing every day. The good one shows, however, that most of the antivirus programs protect against it very well in our test.
In this long-term test, we set the observation period to twelve months. We use the data from the globally recognized test laboratory AV-Test.org. This tests around 20 antivirus programs for private users in a test cycle of two months. The results are shown in the tables below. The advantage of the long-term test: Instead of just a single sample, the programs in the long-term test have to show for a long time and with significantly more test viruses how reliably they protect a PC. We present the exact test scenario under “How we test” below.
Two tools make it to first place. It’s the Kaspersky and Norton Life Lock security suites. You can find information about these tools in the box below. F-Secure Safe achieved third place with an overall rating of 1.04. However, Safe did not take part in two of the six test rounds. Strictly speaking, that’s one reason to exclude the tool from the test. However, we included it in the rating because it has been showing good to very good results in virus protection for years. So it’s a safe program. Safe mostly had problems with false alarms and speed. In July and August 2019, for example, it only delivers weaker performance in the event of false alarms.
In fourth place you will find four programs. In alphabetical order they are Avira Antivirus Pro, the Windows standard Microsoft Defender, Trend Micro Internet Security and Vipre Security Advanced Security. In a total of 18 individual tests, they each received a grade 1 twelve times and a grade 1.5 six times. Since we weighted the three test categories equally, all four received an overall grade of 1.17 – a “very good”!
The following programs also achieved the grade “very good” up to 14th place. So you can hardly do anything wrong when choosing your antivirus program.
The only real problems in the test are the three programs at the end of the test series: Total AV, PC Matic and Malwarebytes Premium. With virus protection, you only receive a grade of 4 (PC Matic), 4.5 (Total AV) and 5 (Malwarebytes). That doesn’t make the tools recommendable.
The test also includes two free tools: Windows Defender, Windows 10’s pre-installed antivirus, and Avast Free Antivirus. While the Avast tool lands in 9th place, the Defender can be in 4th place among the top tools. The Defender succeeds above all by a perfect result in the categories false alarm (grade 1.0). The tool scored 1.25 in the virus protection category. This is a very good value, but other programs do even better.
Overall, Windows Defender continues its development from a rather holey protection tool to a very good antivirus. Since November 2018, the Defender in AVTest’s test laboratory has usually received full marks in the virus protection category. If you want to save the cost of antivirus software, you can rely on Windows’ own protection.
In the test table, we have given the manufacturer’s recommended retail prices for an annual license for a device. But these prices only apply in a few cases. Especially the manufacturers with very high price recommendations sell their products permanently at a special price. For example, Total AV from Protected.net actually costs 120 euros per year for 5 devices. But the manufacturer offered the tool in May, for example, for only 40 euros.
You can also save a lot with a price search engine like www.pcwelt.de/preisvergleich. There we found Kaspersky Internet Security in May for 12 instead of 40 euros. That is a saving of around 70 percent. We chose an offer from Kaspersky Internet Security 2019. The program automatically updates to version 2020 after installation.
Test winner: Kaspersky and Norton Life Lock
Two programs make it to the first place with equal points. It is Kaspersky Internet Security and Norton 365. Both achieved 17 points in a total of 18 tests and thus a grade of 1.0.
Kaspersky performed slightly weaker in virus protection in March / April and only gets a grade of 1.5 here. Norton 360 was minimally worse in the March / April test in the Speed category and also only gets a grade of 1.5. Kaspersky is again in first place. This leaves a highly recommended virus protection for your Windows PC. Norton has rarely made it onto the podium in recent years. However, it was a regular guest there in the 1990s and was one of the first programs to introduce many of the protection modules that are common today, such as the reputation test. Even with Norton 360, your computer is now well protected.