Compare Antivirus Software Before Buying It
© Luke Arnott 2010–2011
It's often hard for PC users to know which antivirus software is the best to buy. Not only do new types of malware keep appearing, but the detection and protection capabilities of antivirus programs changes with each new version.
For example, Norton Antivirus once had a reputation as being bloated and user-unfriendly. But the 2009 and 2010 versions received a much more favorable response from critics. How are such programs objectively compared?
Testing Software for Antivirus Protection
There are a number of independent testing labs that evaluate the effectiveness of antivirus programs on a regular basis. Their results can help PC users evaluate the level of antivirus protection each brand affords.
Fortunately, many labs make their test results available to the public – though in varying degrees of detail. They include:
Other Resources for Comparing Antivirus Software
Professional review sites, such as PCMag.com and CNET, rely on results from many of the antivirus testing labs listed above. But they also evaluate user interfaces, feature sets, and system compatibility, areas testing labs don't cover.
Other resources when considering which antivirus software to buy include user reviews. These provide extra data about antivirus protection in real-world use, though they can be unscientific and biased, or simply out of date. Sites that conglomerate reviews from around the Internet, such as ConsumerSearch.com, can also be of help when researching antivirus programs.
To be well-informed, prospective antivirus software buyers should ensure that the programs that they are considering have been recently certified by an independent testing lab. Then, they can weigh each program's other merits in reviews to decide which one is best for them.