The best antivirus apps for Windows PCs and Androids

AV-Test, a well-respected independent IT-security institute, announced the best antivirus award winners.

pc antivirus digital display
Credit: Simon Smith/iStock/Thinkstock

Although you likely have your own favorite antivirus solution, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on what products are considered best by AV-Test, a well-respected independent IT-security institute.

AV-Test ran tests on Windows PCs and Androids in 2015 and yesterday announced the award winners for both home users and corporate users. The results were broken down into categories covering protection, performance, usability, repair and even best Android security.

Best protection awards

Symantec walked away with the coveted “best protection” award for both home and corporate Windows users. Symantec Norton Security won “best protection” for consumers, while Symantec Endpoint Protection won for the corporate solution. A happy Symantec explained, “Security solutions are subjected to over 1,000 live zero-day attacks delivered via infected websites and e-mail to measure a product’s complete protection ability. In addition, AV-Test measures the security solution’s detection of more than 150,000 current and widespread threats.”

One category under “protection” deals with how well a product protects users from zero-day attacks. The industry average, according to AV-Test, is 97.9%. Symantec offered 98.3% protection against zero-day attacks for its consumer product and 100% against zero-days for its corporate product.

Best performance awards

Plenty of companies have good security products, but some result in a serious hit to speed. This has nothing to do with high-end PC gaming, but instead looks for how speed is affected for typical users launching websites, downloading software, copying data and installing apps. After checking for the solution that had “the least negative influence on the speed of a Windows PC,” AV-Test gave three awards for “best performance;” Bitdefender and Kaspersky Lab tied as the best for consumers, while Bitdefender won as the best performance for corporate users.

For home users, Bitdefender Internet Security showed “hardly any negative impact” on speed, while Kaspersky Internet Security demanded only a “few PC resources.” Bitdefender Endpoint Security won for corporate users as AV-Test said it “proved in all six laboratory tests in the year 2015 the fact that outstanding protection doesn't necessarily require a heavy system load.”

Best usability awards

When it comes to usability, AV-Test checked for which products don’t freak out users by showing false positives or wrongly blocking harmless websites; the tests included visiting thousands of sites and installing hundreds of programs. Again there were three winners; Avira AntiVirus Pro and Kaspersky Lab Internet Security took the awards for consumers, while Intel Security McAfee Endpoint Security won for corporate users.

Best repair awards

If your Windows machine has suffered from a malware attack, what antivirus offers the best repair? Unlike the awards listed above, the winners are not split between consumer and corporate, but as repair “security suite” and as free “stand-alone clean-up tool.” The tests, which lasted eight months, included infecting PCs with hundreds of malware samples. Avira AntiVirus Pro won as the best repair security suite and Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool won as the best freeware clean-up tool.

Best Android Security

AV-Test awarded Bitdefender Mobile Security with the title of best overall security solution for Android as it scored the highest in the categories protection, usability and features. Regarding usability, AV-Test noted, “The Bitdefender app demonstrated no false positives and was easy on mobile device batteries. The extra features are also very interesting for the user.”

Sophos Mobile Security was also a best Android security winner as it “always attained the best score in the category of protection.” The free app scored a perfect 100% detection rate after it was “required to scan, detect and remove just under 3,000 dangerous apps” out of a total 18,000 apps. AV-Test also tipped its hat to Sophos for the “very useful tools in the extra features area.”

Use them or don’t, but there you have it – the winners – according to an independent security lab.

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