The Most Important Security Test in a Decade

In the 1970’s, the United States suffered an oil shortage. There were long lines at the gas pump, and people began stealing gas from one car to another. One outcome of the crisis was the federal government created a metric (MPG) to measure vehicle fuel efficiency. Today, all cars have an MPG ratings, and more importantly, consumers frequently consider vehicle MPG in their purchase decisions. Since the measurement has entered into the purchase decision, vehicle fuel efficiency has improved considerably. Today we have electric and hybrid cars. This was made possible thanks to the MPG measurement.

Today, cyber security faces a similar issue. Ransomware infections are common, threatening our economy and way of life. There is no standard measurement for detection rates of security software. More importantly, consumers, businesses, and government agencies, frequently purchase security software without considering detection rates.

There is a small yet dedicated security software detection rate industry. The three largest players are AV Test from Magdeburg, Germany; AV Comparative from Innsbruck, Austria; and Virus Bulletin from Oxford, England. The chart below analyzes the public test history of the major security products in the American market place over the last ten years.

Malwarebytes has not participated in a public test in the last 10 years. It has been 4 years since Webroot has participated in a public test. Both of these companies are significant brands, and confirms the notion that people do not purchase security products based on detection rates.

PC Pitstop partnered with AV Comparatives to create a comprehensive and superior detection rate test that hopefully will focus purchase decisions on detection rates. The test overcomes many of the flaws of prior public tests.

The test is involuntary, that is no participant was aware when the test was being performed. Products were downloaded from each of the web sites, and run in default mode. The current model between the testers and the testees is financial. The testees pay the testers and submit their products.

Since it is involuntary, the test can be comprehensive permitting the public test results for both Malwarebytes and Webroot.

A criticism of AV testing are the small sample sizes. AV Test and AV Comparatives typically employ samples sizes measured in the hundreds which is a contrast to the Virus Bulletin, which has sample sizes in the tens of thousands. This test bridged the gap with a sample size of 5000. None of the samples were known to Virus Total at the time of the test. No vendor, including PC Pitstop, provided samples for the test.
The samples were categorized into ransomware and non-ransomware samples. In addition to the first comprehensive test, this is one of the first tests to analyze ransomware detection rates.

The tests were run “On Execute” with the internet connection enabled. Each sample was run through a script and executed, and then analyzed to see if the AV product in question was able to properly detect the sample.


This is the first of many tests that we plan to develop to further the discussion of detection rates in the security industry. The MPG rating is certainly not perfect, but the world is better off for having it. In fact, another automotive acronym is YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). Our new test is not perfect, but it is ground breaking in many ways, and we believe that it will force the industry to improve detection rates to thwart the threat of ransomware. We’re planning to do more involuntary tests with AV Comparatives, if you’d like to stay up to date when new results are released click here to sign up for our newsletter.


Don’t see your antivirus vendor in our results? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to include them in our next test.

Please note: In the chart above Norton is listed under their company name Symantec.


PC Matic commissioned another test with AV Comparatives.  The number of security solutions tested increased to 28, compared to the 18 listed above.  Also, additional testing measures were implemented to include polymorphic ransomware and false positives.  You may view the latest AV Comparatives malware detection results here.

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253 thoughts on “The Most Important Security Test in a Decade”

  1. I’m late to the party with this comment, but we’ve been using Stopzilla for many years and it does a great job. Any way to add it to your test results? We also are using Malwarebytes, but we may drop that product due to its headquarters and development being located in Estonia.

  2. Why is F-Secure missing?
    It used to be one of the best out there, though I admit it started to bog my machine down so I went to another product.

    1. AV Comparatives is actually the third party testing agency who conducted the testing. We are just sharing the results. Have a wonderful holiday!

    1. AV Comparatives is the third party testing agency who actually conducted the testing. We are just sharing the results. Have a wonderful holiday!

    1. AV Comparatives is the third party testing agency that did the testing; therefore, I wouldn’t be able to answer why some security solutions were not tested.

  3. There is one inherent problem with all of this. It is reactionary in nature, not preventive. Most virus’ and malware are spread due to human nature, clicking where they shouldn’t, opening what they shouldn’t. But then, if OS were designed properly to begin with, the virus’ and malware issues would be almost non-existent, agree?

      1. Chattanooga Charlie

        PLEASE!!! I can’t believe you are still referring to this test where PC Pitstop did so miserably. Yes, it scored high in this test. But, note that The word PC Pitstop has a line drawn through it, meaning that it did not get a VB100 award in this test. PC Pitstop FAILED!!! Read the full report: They got a high score in what PC Pitstop found, but it also had 13,752 False Positives. The most anyone else had was 32. Most had none. Seriously, who wants to deal with 13,752 False Positives?

        They also found PC Pitstop to be BUGGY. In 6 tests that they ran it passed zero, failed 3, and 3 had no entry. In 12 tests that they ran, PC Pitstop passed 1, failed 5, with 6 no entries. How can you hold this out to be something good for PC Pitstop, when it demonstrates that it one of the worst of the bunch. The one thing these tests have meant to me is that I would NEVER use PC Pitstop. Thank you so much for getting me to the real story.

        1. Correct–there were false positives. We are consistently striving to make our security solution better. You’re right, we have work to do. However looking at the detection piece, we are blowing the competition away. Detection rates are critical.

          1. Chattanooga Charlie

            Yes, you are blowing the competition away with detections because you are detecting everything that is a virus, malware, and all the good stuff as well. 13,000+ False positives Ain’t good. But, I wouldn’t be bragging until you do well enough to at least get your name on the AV Comparatives approved list.

            1. @Chattanooga Charlie: Who cares about false positives??!!! I would rather have some false positives that blocks some good programs but guaranteed to protect my computer from all the bad stuff! With PC Matic, I can always just whitelist any program that I know is good so it won’t block it again. PC Matic is great, has been protecting my family’s pcs for years and I highly recommend it. Their recent VB100 score proves it.

  4. Why people who seem to think they are so technically proficient can’t seem to comprehend that this is not a test that was run by these guys is beyond me. PC Matic is merely sharing results.. Any company who retaliates against another like Malwarebytes has done is automatically excluded from my list for future consideration.. JMHO.

    1. Chattanooga Charlie

      While this test was run by AV Comparatives or some such, it was commissioned by PC Matic. Before, PC Pitstop was not even included in their tests. One of the other tests referenced by Kayla Thrailkill, showed that PC Pitstop did find more viruses than any other. But, it also had over 1,300 false positives, was buggy, and unstable. It did not get their recommendation as an anti-virus to use. It’s easy to get higher catches if you mark everything a virus. After checking this test (which also showed a lot of false positives), and the one referenced, there is no way that I would ever use PC Matic’s PC Pitstop.

    2. @Anthony Johnson. Thank You! It amazes me how many people claim to be such great IT techies and can’t stick to the basics of actually reading the article.
      PC Pitstop did NOT run the tests. They are simply giving people a link to a third-party testing result.
      I actually like Malwarebytes, but their attack on PCPS is extremely unprofessional and I’m giving serious thought to stopping my recommendation of them. If they block websites like this one that shows them in an unfavorable light, what else are the blocking? Talk about your false negatives…

    3. @Anthony Johnson: thank u for this Great article Malwarebytes is actually garbage they r making good. Cash from good publicity and shit results gonna drop these tools and get so staying that works because instill have pups and a ton. Of others that even with malware’s software premium I knew I was being ripped!! Ty again. BRick Sanders or

  5. You seriously started the X axis of the graph at 82%? What other reason is there than to make a couple of your competitors look far worse than they are? The original graph in the report looks nowhere near as shocking, because the results are all actually fairly close. Starting a graph at a number other than zero, simply to inflate the visual impact, is a shill tactic and made me lose all respect for this so called article, and your company. For shame.

    1. Lee – We wanted to enhance the graph simply because several programs did not get 100% detection for both malware and ransomware, and in the original graph it is harder to see that. Thank you for your feedback.

      1. @Kayla Thrailkill:

        Yes it’s harder to see on the genuine graph because the results were so close. A complete non-story, if you will. Unless you fiddle the data to look worse than it is, of course… If you have to skew the figures to make it worth talking about, then perhaps it’s not worth talking about.

        1. To be fair, the numbers were not skewed. I do however, see your perspective and appreciate your feedback. Have a wonderful holiday!

    2. @Lee: The statement that starting the graph at 82% makes some companies look worse, this is for a good reason. Stopping virus’s from getting into computer should be in the 99% range. Some of the antiviruses have 1/7 viruses get through, and the 82% shows that it is that bad, because it is that bad.

    3. @Lee:

      I agree.
      It also seems more than a tad fishy that the default built in antivirus for Windows 10 gets zero mention. It actually works quite well yet many are eager to replace it for reasons unknown.

  6. lol…no way Mbam is that bad, I have used it for years on both my and my customers computers, Mbam is one of the best out there this test is a croc of shit.

    1. I understand your concerns. AV Comparatives is a very reputable third party test. Please stay tuned for more testing results.

    2. Not to mention, you only pay for it ONCE. Not ever year, like all of these other “Rip Off” artists. I got Malwarebytes over 10 years ago. And the premium code still works on every computer I’ve owned.

  7. I would have been willing to believe this, had it not been for the fact that:
    1) both Norton and McAfee are viewed not only as very poor antiviruses, and tend to act as viruses themselves in order to force the user to continue to use them
    2) you are in and have always been in competition with the two softwares that have received the lowest scores, IOLO and Malwarebytes
    3) your scores lact any variation whatsoever, except for the few softwares that have upset your company in the past
    4) your numbers do not match up with ANY of the thousands of other tests run by different organisations. Now, there is always some variation in testing from different sources, but the fact that most others match up somewhat and yours are blasted so out of proportion, I am led to believe you either purposefully targetted the lower scorers, or that you just made the numbers up.

    Not to mention, again, PCPitStop is famous for acting more like a virus than an actual virus protection software.

    I will stick to legitimate virus protection softwares thank you.

      1. Chattanooga Charlie

        This answer is hilarious. When you click on the link, it shows PC Pitstop in a very favorable light. However, if you click on the graph, and go to the detail reports, they do not show PC Pitstop in a very favorable light, citing it as buggy, and unstable. It has big X’s on their graphic, as in not making their top list.

        1. You are correct. We are constantly working to improve our product. However, the importance of detection rates is only increasing and in that regard we are blowing away the competition. Thanks for your feedback. Have a great Holiday.

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  8. I have a new windows 10 computer also it was installed with MCfee and I have installed mailwarebytes
    any recommendations please

      1. The results have not been altered between this post, and the original report. However, if you’d prefer, you can view the original report here. If you have additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out. Thank you.

  9. i use 360 security and mailwarebytes i cant see anything about 360 security
    I had a good review before i installed it.
    it This sufficient for a windows 10 computer or do I need anything else

    1. @R. Bates: I and another person asked the same thing… nothing… nada… maybe because it ranked higher? Not knocking pc matic but If you abstain from using those side programs like malwarebytes etc that are actually the problem & use linux based windows compatible programs as the side protocols & browsers ….opera, firefox etc along with safe browsing & not opening unknown emails, your pretty much safe… but for inquiring minds, what is the comparative….. using internet explorer is the main issue, the hackers dream come true browser that is the most commonly attacked….has been for years!

  10. Looking through the comments, and bearing in mind my years of experience with non-techie users, four things are clear to me:

    1. No antivirus or antimalware software is perfect – well, there’s a surprise, since they are designed, written and maintained by human beings!

    2. One product is not enough. One resident antivirus, yes, otherwise they will fight. But since (1) is the case, you need a second, and maybe third, Weapon of Malware Destruction, preferably installed and updated from the start, rather than trying to install on an infected machine. I’ve seen malware cripple AVs (notably McAfee and Norton on a number of occasions), so that they had not been active for months. It took something like Malwarebytes, SuperAntispyware, HitmanPro and the like to clean up.

    3. Techies can probably keep a computer malware-free with little or no security software, but the vast majority of users need something. I would suggest that one of the better free AVs – Avast is my current favourite, but I monitor reviews and experience of others in case it goes downhill in future, plus Malwarebytes (with reservations about version 3) and SuperAntispyware.

    4. Maybe more important is browser setup. Cut off third-party cookies, Flash (increasingly disappearing anyway), keep Java up to date (I wish I could recommend removing it, but too many sites still need it), ditch dodgy search engines, toolbars and home pages, use an ad blocker. Avast has a site-rating extension that will warn of suspect search results pretty reliably. So much of the junk comes from web use that this, in conjunction with education about spotting bad emails, seems to be doing more to keep our clients’ free of malware than their security software.

    1. @Joyce Beck: has about the same results with bitdefender staying at the top for years. User behavior is the key to safety on the Web. Downloading a good rescue disk on a clean box is a must kaspersky, webroot etc. If you have some skills you should get the hirens disk with mini XP witch can be powerful in the right hands. Cheers and happy surfing!

      1. @John: We have to bear in mind ease of use with any AV we recommend for clients, particularly in the sense of whether the app leads them in the right directions, or whether they will be required to make decisions they don’t understand. We find Avast good in this respect – of course that might change – we have a look at others that score well in strictly AV terms. We have years’ of accumulated rescues, Linux, hirens of course, registry hacks, ISOs, home-grown installation apps, etc. and both of us have over 40 years experience in the computer industry – but our focus is on setting up “lay” users’ systems. We aim to allow them to just “drive”, while using us as their mechanics.

    1. @Perry: I too have been using comodo for many years. I also asked the same question, where is the comparative. Never have had any issues what so ever & my question to pc-matic was never answered for your same question… only answer I got was we will let you try our product after I stated that I could not afford theirs… Well my opinion is only stupid people get viruses due to unsafe surfing habits & opening unknown emails. I also use open source linux windows compatible programs & ad blockers & anti tracking programs for other defenses. I never use google programs, malwarebytes etc….. I refuse to use internet explorer as my browser the most common hacked / attacked browser, firefox, opera etc is my browser of choice & of course is linux based…. no issue at all with comodo… none…. now on the flip side, my wife can kill a pc with her surfing habits & is banned from any of mine….lol… I have been doing pc repairs for folks & always use comodo as the choice of software when reloading their pc… it is not a hog like Mcafee or norton & my pc runs fast…I refuse to use win 10 due to microsoft intellectual rights disclaimer & am happy with 8.1… how about it pc-matic, how does it rank, inquiring minds want to know…….
      my 2 cents

      1. If you know that your surfing has a chance to Fubar the heck out of your system, do your surfing in a sandbox. The 1st thing I ask when I used to do IT repair is that same thing .

  11. Webroot by far is the best i have seen ! I have been using it for years and have had no problems at all ! It is not a resource hog like Nortons and it blocks more malicious sites than others i have tried !! Plus Malware bytes is a good product too,i don’t use its virus protection because my webroot handles that but malware bytes has a feature called camelion that you can use if you think it has been comprimised ! But as far as antivirus and malicious websites Webroot does the job very well ! I think your chart is wrong on Webroot your pushing your product as the best i disagree with your chart it is misleading ! But people can make a choice as for me i will stick with my Webroot it has done me very well !!!!!

    1. Thank you for your feedback Ronald, the results in the chart are from AV Comparatives which is an independent testing organization. We had no effect on the results of the test.

    2. @ronald: As an IT services company, Webroot is the only AV I trust to take care of my customers. I have had Webrool find 50-70 viruses on computers that Norton, McAfee, and AVG never see. When a customer comes in complaining about a slow machine, the first thing I do is uninstall one of those “big 3” AV and put on Webroot, then clean up the viruses. Next I install SuperAntiSpyware and MalWareBytes to remove up to 4000 spyware-link files per PC that, once again, the “big 3” missed.

  12. I use Avast (free) and Super Anti Spyware.. I found that my Super anti spyware finds stuff malwareBytes never did… I also like Super anti spyware since it was the only thing able to remove a hijacker easily.

  13. I don’t see Adaware by LavaSoft mentioned anywhere. It used to be top rated software. They have a new anti-virus program. I’d love to know how it stacks up.

  14. Were all products from vendors included or just one? Also, simply dropping files on a system and running them is not a very accurate test today. Many viruses come by way of an exploit kit and it looks like the delivery method was completely ignored given how important it is.

  15. Disappointed to see that ZoneAlarm by Checkpoint software was not included in the testing; been using ZA Extreme Security for many years with good results.

  16. My experiences fixing thousands of ordinary people’s machines (I do individuals ans small biz, not corporate) is that the major players (McAfee, Norton/Symantec, MS Defender, Malewarebytes, Webroot) have lost their way. Your test must not have very ‘tough’ viruses, becuase WAY too many score right at the 100% mark. THAT is NOT my experience.

    First thing I do when I clean a machine, is uninstall the inevitable McAfee or Norton or Defender. Not only are all 3 ineffective these days, McAfee and Norton are in such an ‘arms race’, they have become bloatware and slow a system down just by being INSTALLED! Plus, BOTH ‘leave’ parts of themselves ‘behind’, so when a person tries to install a rival product, it may abort because either is still there; the user panics and REinstalls McAfee or Norton! After I ‘unistall’ either I then run their ‘real’ uninstaller! They were both forced by lawsuits to provide a real uninstaller, but like the plans for an interspatial bypass going thru Earth being hidden in Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe, they make it hard to find! I list them on my Protection page:
    (which is a bit ‘verbose’ too, I have to admit, lol, so here are the links:-)

    I’ve found that installing almost ANY other product will find viruses and maleware these 3 never spotted! But I have been using AVG Free with great success for years. But the free version has gotten increasingly ‘noisy’ in popping up ads, so I tested Avast Free and Kaspersky Trial recently. Unfortunately they ALL ‘talk’ too much!! But you have to agree, they ARE trying to sell their ‘paid for’ products and they have a right to, just wish it wasn’t so loud! I did NOT find either Avast or Kaspersky to find anything AVG missed though! Avast has a slick interface, but was otherwise a pain and less effective. Kaspersky is probably the best product out there, but is too ‘techy’ for most regular users. So I went back to AVG Free for me and my customers.

    But you can’t use just one product! NO one finds everything or every ‘piece’ of a virus. So I like to install a trio of products, each with different strengths.
    1) A main anti-virus that runs all the time, like AVG Free (or Avast Free, Kaspersky)
    2) A spyware/maleware utility to be run monthly, like Spybot (the old, easy to use version) (I don’t recommend MalewareBytes any longer)
    3) A specialist toolbar remover, like ADW, run monthly (just bought out by Malewarebytes, hope they don’t KILL it!)

    Each has simple, easy to use, few button interfaces. (the recent Spybot 2.0 must have been taken over by Linux geeks, as it went from 4 easy buttons in 1.6.2 to ALL 25-30 command buttons crammed next to each other into a god-awful disaster of ‘every button is equal’ bullshit, so that I could NOT for the life of me find… ‘RUN’!! so I stick with 1.6.2) Yet they are all amazingly effective. (though AVG is pushing my patience with its more and more ‘talkative’ popups!)

    So, stay AWAY from the big store sellers! THESE are all FREE!

    1. I agree with you here and I used to work for a computer shop for about 5 years. The “top” antiviruses never worked against new viruses in the wild. However, there was one antivirus a gamer brought to our attention that was able to detect before they could ever install or replicate — Kaspersky. I ponied up for all my computers and have never had a virus issue in over 13 years now.

    2. I truly enjoyed your read on top of the main article. I have to say, I could not find anything I disagreed with and that is unusual for me. Lol. Personally, I now run Windows Defender and PC Pitstop’s PC Magic to pick up the pieces. Honestly, I haven’t had a virus in 10 years.

    3. Agree with you on almost everything. We run a similar business – IT support for domestic and some small businesses. Used to use AVG, Malwarebytes, SuperAntispyware and Spywareblaster, and AdAware too a long while ago. Spywareblaster became unnecessary, Adaware never seemed to pick up anything the others missed, SpyBot is still good, but now far too techy, complex and messy for “lay” users – they just don’t understand what it’s telling them or what to do about it. The latest version of Malwarebytes installs a 14 day trial of the Pro version, which you have to terminate, the settings have all been prettied up without any apparent real difference. AVG got on my nerves with its search and home page hijackers, toolbars, PC TuneUp and Web TuneUp nonsense. We stick to Avast now: still the invitation-to-buy pop-ups, but at least it leaves the browsers in peace. The thing I would add is that the default settings of virtually everything just will not do. We turn off all the ‘extras’ and get Avast, Malwarebytes and SuperAntispyware to do only what we install them for – no cleanups (no need for more than CCleaner), no software updates (FileHippo, thank you). People are shocked when I tell them that I wouldn’t have McAfee or Norton if THEY paid ME!

    4. I have always liked KAV or their new version Total Security. I have installed on my computer and all office computers. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to keep people from following questionable links or from opening attachments that they shouldn’t be opening. Kaspersky does a great job, but I always keep a copy of CCleaner and Malwarebytes around to run on an as needed basis.

  17. I think it’s important to note the Y axis on this chart. It would appear that lots of AV programs are many times better than Malwarebytes, and that Malwarebytes hardly detects anything, but the bottom of the chart is actually 82%, not zero. So, at most, there’s about a 17% difference between the best and worst programs in this comparison.

  18. “YMMV” is not an automotive acronym. For a group that is as concerned with all the fine details of comparing computer software security products as you are, you lose a great deal of credibility by not knowing the simple difference between an acronym and an abbreviation. An abbreviation is a shortened version of a word or phrase, often using the initial letters of each word in a phrase. An acronym is an abbreviation THAT SPELLS OUT ANOTHER WORD! “YMMV” is not a word, therefore it is not an acronym. “Laser” (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) IS an acronym because “Laser” is a word. “D.A.R.E.” (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is an acronym because “dare” is a word. “YMMV” is not a word, and therefore it is not an acronym. If you don’t know that simple difference, how can we trust anything else you tell us?!!?

    1. @Mike: UM, maybe you should ‘splain me this. You are telling us it can’t be an acronym because it lacks a vowel? You are telling us there was a word “laser” before it came to be the abbreviation for a new energy application?

      1. @Tonto: He is being a jerk, but he means an acronym should be pronounceable (laser), so acronyms usually need a vowel. Technically, “YMMV” is an abbreviation and a mnemonic. I appreciate your research. Thanks !

  19. I hope this doesn’t chase away people from using MalwareBytes Anti-Malware. MBAM is one of the best options to scan a computer and remove existing threats. This article only tests real-time protection (attempting to stop threats before they start) which MBAM does, but is not what it should be primarily used for because there are better options that focus almost solely on real-time protection, but aren’t any good once something gets past them.

  20. What about AVG’s move to almost *becoming* randsomware by installing without user permission new products that then beg for you to buy them and are notoriously difficult to uninstall.

  21. I have tried many AV programs over the years. At the advice of a computer repairman here that has been trustworthy in the years I’ve know him, I recently took Avast off and went with Windows Defender that comes with Microsoft along with the paid version of Malwarebytes (that has been fantastic over the years I’ve had it!). My computer still appears to be slow as hell but my guy said it was likely due to the many other programs I have, including Crashplan, which is almost constantly backing my stuff up, and not my antivirus or antimalware programs.

    1. @Charles Hawsey:

      If you are using both Windows Defender AND MalwareBytes Anti-Malware for real-time protection (and why else would you pay for MBAM when you can get unlimited one-time scans absolutely free), then your pc will be definitely be slow. You only want to have one AV *running constantly in the background* to try and block threats before they begin. You can have as many as you want that run a scan only when you tell them to remove threats that are already there.

      1. Chattanooga Charlie

        @Daniel B:

        You know this how? I have no experience with Windows Defender. But, I do have Microsoft Security Essentials, and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware both running at the same time. I watch Task Manager to see what % of CPU cycles they are using. I watch mbae.exe *32, mbae64.exe, mbae-svc.exe *32, mbam.exe *32, mbamscheduler.exe *32, mbamservice.exe *32, MsMpEng.exe, and msseces.exe to see what % they hit during heavy processing. They never get over 3-5% on my system. The biggest drain on my system is IAStorDataMgrSvc.exe *32. It stays at 12-13% at idle.

        You absolutely need to have some ant-virus program running at all times to protect you. Once a virus, Trojan, zeroday attack, etc. gets on your computer, it could be too late to run a scan that could take a very long time. Plus Malwarebytes keeps you off a lot of websites that could cause you problems before you ever run a scan. No, I’m not talking about porn sites.

        1. @Chattanooga Charlie: Kind of like this site – “Malwarebytes Anti-Malware has blocked a potentially malicious website.” To be safe I loaded it on a sandboxed browser under Linux.

          I’ve been in the IT industry for 10 years and Malwarebytes has been THE go-to scanner for machines that seem to be gunked up – and almost always finds crap that the other AV missed. We’ve used AVG, Avast, Bitdefender, McAfee, and Symantec in the last 5 years – and Malwarebytes invariably finds stuff that they’ve all missed.

          It seems to me that this “review” either 1) doesn’t know the difference between malware, viruses, trojans, and ransomware or 2) wants to sell a competing AV. Seems to be the latter, considering the URL that lead me here was “” – which doesn’t look like a legit URL to an unbiased review.

          1. Let me see if I got this right… MBAM blocked this website as potentially malicious? Hmm, that doesn’t strike you as odd? What’s malicious here? An attempt to maliciously attack their bottom line?

            This test was INVOLUNTARY. PC Pitstop didn’t run these tests or grease any palms to increase their numbers. Did it occur to you that because they work so hard and got really good results, that they might direct you to this page to show you it’s benefits? A little common sense goes a long way.

                1. Sorry, my response was for Doug. Not yours Charlie. I also thought Doug was responding to what I said. Sorry for that. I Should have read it better.

          2. @Doug: I also have been in the IT industry, for over 25 years now. Most of that as a programmer/analyst, but the last 6 years in PC repair. I concur that Malwarebytes in tandem with Defender works best. That is all I use, that is all I recommend to my customers. And when they come in with really nasty stuff, MWB is my go-to (along with ADW Cleaner, now run by MWB). Very rarely I have had to break out my Kaspersky rescue CD.

          3. @Doug: I installed the new MWB 3.0 a couple of days ago and it did block this site. Got so aggravated that I uninstalled it. Have used MWB for years.

  22. This antivirus crap is a game!

    You have got to be IT ignorant to allow ANY computer / smartphone to logon to ANYTHING as “administrator” OR a “root user”!

    99.99% of ANYTHING harmful or annoying can be STOPPED DEAD IN IT’S TRACKS simply by doing this one thng.

    Make the main user you use on your device merely a power user (revoke admin privileges to this user)

    for ADDED security rename you admin account to something else (100% of ALL ransomeware are seeking the user “Administrator” if they get you are screwed! (hence the reason to NEVER logon with it “it is like yelling “Hey here I am”)
    Create a strong password for the renamed admin account that has a space in it i.e. P@s$W0r d
    Then whenever a “system event: wants to be perform on your device the password MUST be supplied by YOU




    1. @Frank Tillman:

      It’s good advice in theory but the average non-techie doesn’t know how to do this and will be utterly infuriated by trying it as they continually can’t do anything with their machine and have to log off and then log on as someone else.

    2. @Frank Tillman: actually i run my system as admin permanently. running admin can be an issue if you do it all willnilly but if ur smart nothing can be done. see these viruses rely on making system changes without the user knowing, and contrary to your statement to the otherwise some programs can in fact make changes without the user being in admin privilege however there is one lil setting in ur systems setting that stops everything in its tracks. it regardless of admin privilege or not it demands every and any change made to your system pop up a lil window that says do you wish to allow said program to make changes to your system yes or no. no program or code can run on your system without you clicking yes. that is unless they hardline into ur system and root to ur cmd function, in which case good luck getting to let alone past the bios screen without my usb key. i used to get my system bugged up by such viruses that bypassed even the best of the above-listed software until i set program access to demand user input on all system changes. most people don’t use this function as it gets annoying to constantly be clicking yes i want this to run this program, but it can save ur ass when u go oh hey i don’t know this program, i don’t want it running. i have not paid nor even used free anti anything in ten years. but then i also know every aspact of my system hardware and software, so i know if something should not be there and remove it myself. huh geee i wonder.

  23. I have used Avanquest/SystemSuite for years – how does it stack up to the rest? (Is it part of one of the other companies?)

  24. Immunet (with Clam AV)? Cloud/Crowd-based AV.
    I have been using Clam for years on my linux servers to help protect my clients and myself at the source (sendmail milter).
    I read a benchmark a number of years ago, where Clam won out for usually being the first to market with defs for newly found virii.Id love to see how they/Immunet stack up now.

  25. It would be nice if you explained in the text of the article what the top graph means. For example, I run Symantec. Is the fact that they have only participated in AV Test in the past several years a good or bad thing compared to some other product which has participated in all 3 of the tests? How did these products in these tests?

    Or is the above irrelevant due to the tests run by AV Comparative? It feels like you’re trying to make a point, but not doing a good job at it.

    1. The top graph is just a collection of data on the amount of public tests various vendors have participated in. We believe all products should be tested publicly so consumers know how well the products are actually performing. To see how products performed individually in tests you can go to the website of the testing house which has a history of all results.

  26. Securing computers is not about which “security” software to buy
    Whichever software is used, every computer user is exposed to intruders and malware by their own behaviour
    Until users take proper responsibility for securing their computers and networks, data ransom is going to grow into a giant worldwide business

  27. Windows defender. Is that different from Bit defender?
    And system usage would help.
    I have had a problem with Windows Defender, every once in a while, it scans itself and goes into an infinite loop, drawing up resources infinitely. According to the ‘net, it happens regularly.
    Which antivirus would be best?

  28. Resources… I find a lot of av programs suck the machine dry. A comparison as far as resources needed would be great to see. On machines that have 4 gig ram and/or slow cpu, Symantec leaves nothing for the user, bring the machine to a crawl. Who gets the job done using the least amount of resources?

    1. Thanks for the insightful comment John! That sounds like a fantastic idea for a future test, we’ll keep it in mind.

                1. I apologize for this miscommunication. I thought you were referencing the AV Comparatives test, which PC Pitstop – the company name – is used. The test you are referencing in the above article, we did not take part in. We were not approached to take part in the test, which is why you will not find us within the test pool.

  29. I’ve used Panda for my corporate networks for years, and they seem to have outperformed everything else I’ve tried. Why does no one include Panda in their tests? I have tried Bitdefender, Symantec and AVG network editions for my clients, and all of them gave me more trouble and seemed less effective than Panda Cloud Endpoint protection. I invariably ended up switching back.

    1. Thanks for comment Bill, we included Norton Security under their other name Symantec. Our apologies for the confusion!

  30. I use RegRun Platinum and have for several years now. It includes a Boot CD (or in my case USB) that is supposed to detect and remove rootkits. It also has a watch program that detects changes to system files and configuration settings.

  31. I’m surprised you did not include Norton. I thought that was one of the larger and or more popular antivirus companies out there.

  32. I see you tested the products with the full paid version. I’d be interested in know how the free versions compare to the full paid ones.

      1. @Devin Bergin: It would be great to have test’s for free & paid versions. Include the 3 column data of system resources used & an explanation of the test bed setup used to gather the information.

  33. Spybot corrected a ransomware problem for me and has prevented further occurrences. It takes a few seconds to scan everything new, but is worth the slight delay.

  34. How about we step outside the box for a moment and take into consideration the average PC owner and senior citizens. All to often they are told they need to install a better AV program so they go to Wally World and get one that is on the shelf with flashing lights saying they are the best and Homer S. recommended. That is why I would be all for a regulated rating for AV programs.

  35. I use ESET and Malwarebytes (and pay for both) as my antivirus/malware combo. Both catches things that they other doesn’t. I am glad to know that I have a good combo. I was wondering if Kapersky can handle both by itself.

  36. I work with a LOT of different anti virus programs as I do a lot of computer repair and software repair specifically. So far when people ask what the “best” is I definitely lean towards a program called Panda. It has both a free and a “premium” version and has caught pretty much anything I have thrown at it in my own tests for viruses specifically. I usually advise running Malwarebytes along side of it as well for better malware protection. Panda and Malwarebytes are both low resource programs so they don’t bog the system down and neither has a ton of annoying pop up ads like what Avast is doing nowadays. Using Malwarebytes in your test is a little misleading as it is not actually an antivirus program. My advise to all of my clients is to run Panda and Malwarebytes together and basically you will have no worries about an attack getting through.

  37. I have used HitmanPro on numerous occasions to fix problems I could not find on my own, or with MalwareBytes’ scanning, which very rarely fails. I have had little luck with other antivirus and security suites which were all unable to locate the true culprit. In my experience, using a computer and fixing them for friends and family for the last 12 years, I praised the day I came across Malwarebytes.

  38. After running PCMatic, Malwarebytes, ADWCleaner, I was able to remove the Malware(blue screen of death) but it keeps coming back – I can’t seem to get rid of it completely. It has rendered my notebook useless.

  39. Even though I ran PCmatic regularly my computer started freezing up . I took it to a local repair shop and they said PCmatic was causing some of the problem and removed that program from my system and installed Avast. I will not be renewing..

    1. Kayla Thrailkill

      Robert–our program shouldn’t have caused any issues for your PC. Did you contact our support team to try and determine what was causing the issue?

  40. Ransomware would not be a threat but for the Bitcoin. Since it first
    came into being I have campaigned for its demise through world
    government action but, it seems to me, nobody is interested.

    1. The only companies that should have malware and virus protection would be the service providers. they are at the throat of every transmission in the world and could stop any virus and malware transmitted if only they would accept the responsibility and congress would get off their butts to actually protect the US citizen and consumer instead of taking bribes and destroying the world!!

      1. @dennis: 1. The U.S. Government is not your mother. 2. The U.S. Government has no delegated authority to act in this area. Take responsibility for your own computer.

  41. I’d like to Echo a few comments that are but I have a few of my own. As a computer technician I routinely use Malwarebytes to detect items that no antivirus seems to find. I think some wonderful antivirus packages are missing from your tests. Amongst them are Norton, Panda, BitDefender, and Avira. ESET and AVG have both proven themselves to be inferior products in my opinion based on 2 decades of experience. Your site likes to hype PCMatic since it’s your own product, but sensatinalizing the fact that a product isn’t part of AVComparitives testing isn’t a measure of the worth of the product. It’s poor manners.

    1. @Ezra Shapiro: In addition, on a client’s computer today I ran a Kaspersky Internet Security Trial (the client wants the full version so I installed the trial until he pays) and it found 2 suspicious items. I’m currently running Malwarebytes, which after 20 minutes has already found 8 (after removing the ones Kaspersky found)

        1. @Frank: Dollars are always wasted paying for A/V unless you are trying to protect a corporate network or something like that. There are plenty of free options that are just as good for protecting a single home computer.

        1. @Dan J: That’s a good question. It wound up finding around 150 items. Many of them were things like DefaultTab, ReImage scamware, and others. I already returned the computer to the client, so I don’t know the rest of the list. What I can tell you is that working in conjunction with ADWCleaner, and JRT (both of which were recently acquired by Malwarebytes) the computer was running a LOT faster. These are things I would expect Kaspersky Internet Security (not Antivirus) to find also, but no Internet Security suite I’ve used seems to find them.

  42. The only test I’d like to see the results of is one that identifies the number of false positives as well. There’s too many so-called “protectors” that get bought off and don’t “protect” much of anything.

      1. @dennis: Why do you expect everyone else should take care of YOUR property for you? So far, the US Government (what about the other 6.5 billion people?), ISP’s, Microsoft & Mac should all take responsibility to protect your ass…OK, let’s look at that. Say the ISP’s take all responsibility for consumer & business protections, like you wish them to, let’s say they purchase an inferior product because of costs (enormous ones) and malware makes it through. Now you have 100’s of 1000’s (minimum) of customers infected and when they find out, they’re pissed. Now lawsuits fly, how long do you think ISP’s would stay in business in this scenario? I’d give it a year before the entire Internet is gone worldwide as ISP’s succumb to untenable financial pressures, not a good scenario.
        ISP’s already filter for tons of known malware (call yours and ask them), but no matter WHAT any ISP does, malware will get through as malware writers find holes in any protections and now they can access millions of machines in a single shot on a single ISP if all protection is left up to the ISP level…really bad news. NO software is impervious to attack and never will be, the interactions are too complex, connectivity between devices too pervasive, this problem is never going away, it’s YOUR responsibility to protect yourself.

      1. @Paul: Thanks for the link, Paul. Just checked it out and you are right….BitDefender looks pretty good. Ranked in the Superior group. It works for me…

    1. @Frank: We’ve updated the chart to include BitDefender’s results from the full AV comparatives report. Unfortunately Advanced System Care was not tested.

      1. @Devin Bergin: Thanks for the notice @Devin Bergin. Would love to see where Advance System Care ranks(ranked). Used it until several tech gurus mentioned Bit Defender. But, Advance System Care worked well for…even Pro Edition. If you ever test it, link me to results. Thanks.

        1. @Frank: We’re planning to run another test with results releasing in May. We’ll include Advanced System Care in the test set, thanks for the suggestion Frank! If there are others you’d like to see in the next test set please let us know!

    1. Kayla Thrailkill

      We actually did not conduct the test. It was done by AV Comparatives. Avast was tested, and scored quite well. We took them off of the graph due to the low market share they hold within the U.S.

      1. Chattanooga Charlie

        @Kayla Thrailkill:
        While the test was conducted by AV Comparatives, it was commissioned by PC Matic. The one done in November by AV Comparatives was done on Windows 7, and did not include PC Matic’s product. The one commissioned by PC Matic was tested on Windows 10. PC Pitstop by PC Matic had the worst False Positive score. The one that AV Comparatives did in November 2016, had quite a few more metrics than this test which was commissioned by PC Matic.

        In any case, I’m not totally sure that the testing method is “totally” valid. They start with a completely clean PC. Are there any completely clean PCs in the real world? A good “product needs to catch both live viruses, trojans, malware, etc., as well as being able to catch the ones it missed later on by a scan, or the first scan after being installed.

        I look forward to AV Comparatives’ next batch of testing with the full metrics.

        1. Completely agree–the test was too easy. We look forward to future results as well, as we are confident the results will differ for many of our competitors.

    2. @anne: @anne:

      That’s too bad as Avast is still somewhat popular and is better than most of the other options.

      Also, it would be much more useful for the average home user to test free versions. They don’t need to be misled into paying for stuff they don’t need.

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