Protecting over 200 million PCs, Macs, & Mobiles – more than any other antivirus

September 20th, 2009

Did Avast win the latest AV-Comparatives?

AV-Comparatives is one of the most respected antivirus comparison tests in the world and is performed twice a year. The latest test results were published over the weekend and we did very, very well. Although they never name an overall winner, I think if they did do so, we would have been the overall winner. At a minimum we handily beat virtually all of the premium products. This time around 16 products were tested including Symantec/Norton, McAfee, AVG, Avira, and Kaspersky.

AV-Comparatives is an interesting test because it measures all three elements a user should be looking at to choose the right AntiVirus product—the ability to detect malware; the ability to not falsely detect malware; and speed. So, the best product is not necessarily the one with the best detection—it is the one with the best blend of these three elements. These elements can be mutually exclusive and it is very hard to get top scores in each category. Products that detect a lot of malware can over-detect and have a lot of false positives which severely hinders users. A low number of false positives can imply a poor ability to detect malware. And it is very easy to do nothing very fast but increasing speed tends to lower the ability to detect malware.

AV-Comparatives assigns each product one of four scores: A+, A, Standard, and Tested (a nice euphemism for failed). To get an A+ one has to have 97% detection and fewer than 15 false positives.

This time around, we were the only AV product to score in the top-5 in each category (and no, that does not mean we were 5th in each category). We were #5 in Detection, #2 in False Positives, and #1 in Speed.

  1. Detect Malware. AV-Comparatives runs about 4 million malware samples through the products. One set of 2.5 million is old and they expect all products to detect them. Then they run a set of 1.5 million newer samples. To get a top score one must detect at least 97% of this second set. We scored a 98% for the #5 ranking. But, two of the higher detectors (Avira and McAfee) were downgraded for excessive False Positives. The top performer in this category was GData—a product that uses two AV engines (one of which is Avast) so it can maximize detections but at the expense of speed, false positives, and footprint. The only single engine A+ rated product with a higher detection than us was Norton and it was only slightly higher (98.3%). Many well known products such as Microsoft, AVG and Kaspersky failed to make the 97% threshold.
  2. Not detect false positives. If a product finds more than 15 false positives in the clean set, its score is lowered. This happened to us 6 months ago when we had too many false positives and we got downgraded from an A+ to an A. We spent a lot of time in the recent months upgrading our ability to not detect false positives—we added over 1TB and 150,000 files to our known clean set. The result was fantastic as we had only 5 false positives for the 2nd position and we were only 1 false positive behind the category leader. Some of the big names had tremendous problems this time around. McAfee with their “in the cloud” detection had 41 False Positives. Avira was downgraded to an A rating because of 21 false positives. Symantec barely made the A+ cutoff with 13 false positives.
  3. Process quickly (i.e. speed). We are usually in the top 1/3rd but we have been spending time optimizing our product and this time around we got the #1 position. Slightly behind us was Norton who has been heavily advertising the “Need for Speed”. We agree. Customers need speed—a fast product with high detection and few false positives. And that is Avast! Most competitors had speeds half of ours and some (such as Microsoft) were about three times slower.

So, were we the best overall? I think so.  Check out the results for yourselves and make your own decision: www.av-comparatives.org.   To find the report, click on the “On Demand Comparative August 2009″ link near the top right of the page.

  1. PB
    September 20th, 2009 at 22:44 | #1

    Congrats on winning the Advanced+ label!

    AVAST is undoubtedly the best AV program available…I have been using it for years and without a single problem

    Anxiously waiting for the roll out of Avast Home 5.0

    Cheers!

  2. SG
    September 20th, 2009 at 23:15 | #2

    I’ve been using AVAST 4.8 home for last 7-8 months and its the best

  3. Tech
    September 21st, 2009 at 03:08 | #3

    Congratulations.
    I’m quite happy the point “speed” get huge improvements.
    Hope the avast 5 do not lose the low false positives rates with the behavior shield.
    The detection is quite good.

    One suggestion (from the forums): get a better submission process.

  4. September 21st, 2009 at 09:43 | #4

    Great news :D

  5. Frank Mayer
    September 21st, 2009 at 10:37 | #5

    This is great! Congrats to the whole team!!

  6. The_Blinded
    September 21st, 2009 at 21:54 | #6

    Good score as usual. Congratulations!
    I think, as Tech, that the sending of suspicious files and false positives should be improved.

    A very important thing to improve: the ability to clean an infected pc (with active virus). It’s for this reason that products such as Avira, Malwarebyte’s.. are having success. Even from my personal test Avast! identify more threats than Avira, but Avast! removes less ones.

    P.S.
    Sorry for my english, I hope it is understandable.

  7. DDM
    September 21st, 2009 at 21:56 | #7

    If avast! 4.8 is very good……….. avast! 5 will be the best.

  8. September 22nd, 2009 at 01:17 | #8

    Vincent;

    I’m an Avast fan, I have it installed on my home computer for more than 2 years, without any problem, so I tried it at office, we started with ADNM and Net Client Edition 4.7, we were working so fine at the beginning, we cleaned many viruses, but we found many other undetected by Avast, so I sent it to virus@avast.com with a http://www.virustotal.com report, after some days Alwil released a fix, then Alwil released Avast 4.8 version, that version wasn’t available for Enterprise users after 5 months… a lot of time, we found more viruses undetected, and we reported, then Alwil release a VPS that caused a problem with XP computers, sending to the chest Windows files, it was a really nightmare for our users, they stop working one day and a half (we are a 24X7 working company), some days ago, I sent other virus undetected bye Avast, your staff asked me to update my program version to 4.8.1351 in order to detect the virus, but my net client edition only can be upgraded to 4.8.1038, so what I’m going to do with that virus? Check this Home and Pro versions were updated on August 17th, but Server, ADNM and Net Client Edition were updated on May 13th, what I have to expect? Avast 5 will be released for Enterprise users on time? or we have to wait 5 months just like 4.8? It seems to me, that Alwil is not taking care of Enterprise users, here in México, we are running without a really good technical support. You have to improve it, we started to check other antivirus solutions because of this.

    And again, as a home user, I’m an Avast fan, but as an enterprise user…

    Sorry to be so crude.

    Best Regards!
    Sergio Ariza

  9. vlk
    September 22nd, 2009 at 10:23 | #9

    The_Blinded :
    A very important thing to improve: the ability to clean an infected pc (with active virus). It’s for this reason that products such as Avira, Malwarebyte’s.. are having success. Even from my personal test Avast! identify more threats than Avira, but Avast! removes less ones.

    Actually, I’d disagree here. Have you tried running the boot-time scan in avast? It’s one of avast’s major weapons when it comes to cleaning.

  10. September 22nd, 2009 at 13:03 | #10

    Congratulations to avast.
    But my last experience with avast it isn’t a quite fast scanner.
    I’ll use avast5 when it’s goes final.

  11. Tech
    September 23rd, 2009 at 03:19 | #11

    A little off topic, but won’t you have anything in the blogs about the resellers meeting? Conclusions? Goals?

    • September 23rd, 2009 at 22:58 | #12

      Hi Tech. Is another in my long list of replies I have to get done. I actually have a blog posting in a rough draft and some photos. Will be soon…and sooner than the other stuff I had promised you.

  12. ilker
    September 23rd, 2009 at 12:15 | #13

    It’s great to hear such good news! Thank you so much guys for providing us wonderful and free product. may god bless all of you !

  13. PotentialBuyer
    September 23rd, 2009 at 18:16 | #14

    So when is there going to be a new 25% discount campaign? :)

  14. Bernie Treichel
    September 23rd, 2009 at 22:30 | #15

    I just received an Avast warning “suspicious whitespace sequence”–what does this mean–and what should I do?

    Your home edition is wonderful–thanks!

  15. brad
    September 24th, 2009 at 00:22 | #16

    iv been useing microsoft security essentials free beta its very stable and good in detection but when avast comes out to 5.0 ill switch. :)

  16. Tech
    September 24th, 2009 at 01:04 | #17

    Bernie Treichel :
    I just received an Avast warning “suspicious whitespace sequence”–what does this mean–and what should I do?
    Your home edition is wonderful–thanks!

    This is a heuristic check of avast! mail scanner. It’s a suspicious email you’re receiving due to a long whitespace sequence in the name of the attached file. If I were you, I’ll delete that mail.

    Vincent Steckler :
    Hi Tech. Is another in my long list of replies I have to get done. I actually have a blog posting in a rough draft and some photos. Will be soon…and sooner than the other stuff I had promised you.

    I’m waiting for the “other” stuff… although I’m not that sure we’re talking the same language, I mean, probably I’m expecting for one thing and you’re getting prepared for another… something is telling me we won’t match. Maybe by email.

  17. September 24th, 2009 at 10:03 | #18

    @brad
    Brad, MSE? Thanks for the vote of confidence on V5 but why not Avast 4.8? I am sure the current Avast is better than MSE at catching threats.

  18. September 24th, 2009 at 12:44 | #19

    Hi avast team,

    First of all, i’d like to congrats to all of your avast team.

    All of you have a good job, keep your good job and performance for avast antivirus.

    Regards,
    Yanto Chiang

  19. September 24th, 2009 at 13:25 | #20

    @Bernie Treichel

    yes, Tech is right, It’s a suspicious email you’re receiving due to a long whitespace sequence in the name of the attached file. Please check http://forum.avast.com/index.php?topic=2256.0 for details.

    you can always try to play Heuristics in avast Internet mail or Outlook/Exchange provider in Resident protection if you like.

    1) Click on the blue a-ball icon in system tray to show the
    Resident protection settings
    2) Click on the DETAILS button
    3) In left pane, click on Internet mail or Outlook/Exchange provider icon
    4) In right pane, click on CUSTOMIZE
    5) Then do the changes you want

  20. sumit
    September 24th, 2009 at 20:37 | #21

    congratulations to whole avast team …. i am really proud to be a avast user

    its great to see avast in top list

    avast is wonderful and its fetures are subhan-allah (fantastic)

    the subscibers who r using avast, which firewall u r using?

    reply fast

  21. September 24th, 2009 at 23:40 | #22

    @PB
    Being a symantec vendor, i would respectfully disagree. The latest 2010 norton products are awesome and beat the competition hands down.

  22. September 24th, 2009 at 23:50 | #23

    Hello to all ! I recently installed the avist home version, when I plugged my usb from my printer to my laptop it said Malware? Not sure what I should have done But it did not give me any option but to delete?? I just Xed out of it, is this normal? Thank you all

  23. September 24th, 2009 at 23:55 | #24

    also I read that the (avist globe i con) is suppose to be spinning? Mine is not

  24. Simran
    September 25th, 2009 at 00:01 | #25

    It is not necessarily supposed to spin all the time. If you right click the blue icon and select Details…>> you will be able to see what Avast! is scanning or what it scanned last. If you have any more problems go to the forum (http://forum.avast.com/) where your questions will be answered speedily by volunteers.

  25. September 25th, 2009 at 00:43 | #26

    Hi James. Glad a Symantec vendor is reading our blog. As you may know, I spent 8 years there in very senior positions. Here at Alwil/Avast we believe in top notch security protection without all the hype. We don’t name our features. We don’t work the journalists to get publicity. We just deliver top notch security for free to 93 million users. As a result we probably have 2x as many users as Symantec/Norton. I would put our product up against a Norton/Symantec product any day. I know you need to represent what you sell but dig into the details. Norton is much much better than it was a few years ago; it is now a good product. But Avast is a great product. If you ever encounter examples of what Norton finds that Avast does not, let me know. And if you want to explore selling our products, just let us know.

  26. September 25th, 2009 at 00:45 | #27

    @Simran
    Thank You I did as you said & it spins when needed..

  27. Visitor
    September 25th, 2009 at 06:10 | #28

    #1 in memory leaks?

  28. September 25th, 2009 at 07:46 | #29

    Hi Visitor. I would bet there is not a meaningful PC software product that has not had memory leaks. With just a simple Google search, Avast has the 2nd fewest hits on memory leak as a search term. I checked Avast against Avira, NOD, McAfee, Norton, Trend, AVG and Kaspersky. And given the fact that we have anywhere from 1x – 5x as many users as these other products, this is pretty darn good. So yes, we have had memory leak problems but no where near the problem that other products have had.

  29. Frug
    September 25th, 2009 at 09:46 | #30

    google search:
    “memory leak avast” -> 10.200 results for 93 Million users (according to you)
    “memory leak avira” -> 8.660 results for 100 Million ‘free’ users (according to their website)
    “memory leak kaspersky” -> 24.900 results for over 250 Million users (according to their website)

    I picked these 3 randomly. So I guess ‘nowhere near’ isn’t really true…

  30. Frug
    September 25th, 2009 at 09:50 | #31

    @Frug
    Ok maybe the KAV numbers are wrong, they state 250 Mio “protected users”, which includes pretty much everyone behind a gateway…. so ignore these numbers :)

  31. September 25th, 2009 at 10:05 | #32

    Here are the ones I ran. Avira has fewest. Avast is #2. To me that is “no where near”. Also the Kaspersky user numbers cannot be believed. There are only 1 billion computers in the world; they do not have Kaspersky on 25% of them. They are probably measuring mailboxes protected on ISPs, corporate networks, etc. Their consumer users I would bet are below 10 million.

    Norton memory leak 45,600
    Trend Micro 27,999
    Kaspersky 20,200
    AVG 187,000 (this is way too large but AVG is too generic as a search term)
    McAfee 20,000
    Symantec 30,300
    Avira 6,850
    NOD 19,200
    Sophos 13,100

  32. Igor Glucksmann
    September 25th, 2009 at 10:27 | #33

    Having checked the google query for avast! (OK, a few pages, not all of the results :-) ), almost all of them are ONE SINGLE entry from avast! changelog, copied into hundreds of web pages.
    So, this kind of measuring is completely ridiculous (even if the other results, e.g. various questions from antivirus users, had any relevance – which I seriously doubt).

  33. vlk
    September 25th, 2009 at 12:45 | #34

    In any case, a new program update (4.8.1356) has now been released, and it solves the leak issue. Thanks.

  34. Mr Avast
    September 25th, 2009 at 17:45 | #35

    Hello,

    Just want to say that AVAST is the BEST hands down.

    Guys if anyone is reading this BUY BUY BUY……IT is worth every penny….your system doesnt even know its there and it REALLY protects you.

    I have tried ALL anti Virus products on the market and THIS is by far the best product I have used !!

    I have the PRO and Windows Home Server Edition.

    Thank you AVAST, and please keep up the good work and of course thank you for listing to OUR NEEDS !!!!

  35. September 25th, 2009 at 18:11 | #36

    Hi!

    I am a user with free Avast for over 2 years and recently acquired license to pay, because I was not satisfied with the free version and I want to support the development of an excellent program! Avast from I’ll never change! Thanks all Avast team.

    Sorry my poor English. Thanks from Finland!

  36. September 25th, 2009 at 18:31 | #37

    I have Avast Professional 4.8 antivirus program on my home computer. Do I need anything else or is this sufficient?

  37. Omega40
    September 25th, 2009 at 21:28 | #38

    Thank you for a wonderful product. I have installed Avast! on all our computers since the others didn’t work too well. I do have to admit that Avast! was the last we thought of, but are very happy now and it’s all to your hard work and diligence. Again, many thanks!

  38. September 26th, 2009 at 23:53 | #39

    @PB
    did you guys also know that avast scans very slowly. it doesn’t speak well of the product. i hope the makers will do something about it. also the interface for the warning when a virus is detected isn’t that attractive, they should try some new look. holla!!!!!!!!!

  39. September 27th, 2009 at 08:05 | #40

    hi…

    i am using avast for 2 years /

    Note : if u want best accuracy > u should goto folder option and unchecked >> Hide Protected Ope…. then avast see easy and accuracy is 99%

    Good luck avast team

  40. Björn Lundahl
    September 27th, 2009 at 14:21 | #41

    Hi, I am sorry to realize that we are seeing more and more pop ups from Alwil. For example from the year 2006 to 2009 I saw only one but this year several (one about this blog). I hope that Alwil has not changed its philosophy. If it has I think some people will use, for example, Microsoft Security Essentials as that does not at all bother the user.

    Björn Lundahl
    Gothenburg, Sweden

  41. Björn Lundahl
    September 28th, 2009 at 17:34 | #42

    Even the silence is an answer.

  42. wonder
    September 28th, 2009 at 17:49 | #43

    Hi Vincent,I’m sorry for the little OFF TOPIC but…do you have any news about avast5?? Is it ready? Can we hope you to put it on the market for the first half of october?
    Thanks :)

  43. September 28th, 2009 at 18:36 | #44

    OK, I have rewritten this posting several times for those that read quickly. Decided the simple answer is the best. First Bjorn, pardon our slowness but you did post on a Sunday and today (Monday) is a holiday here in the Czech Republic.

    The issue seems to be are we doing too much iNews? How about some other opinions? This is our way of communicating (NOT Selling) with our users. We have done 3-4 this year. Is that too much? Are they useful? What would you like to see?

    And Bjorn, I would hope that someone would not leave avast and use MSE over iNews. The first thing a security product should do is protect the user. OneCare (and MSE) got 14th out of 16 in this AV Comparatives–and just barely missed flunking the detection.

  44. September 28th, 2009 at 18:39 | #45

    @wonder
    Wonder, there will be a soft launch of the free V5 in October with a partner. The official launch of all three free products will be a little bit later. We are finalizing the release schedule in the next week. Also, there should be new betas posted any day now.

  45. john
    September 28th, 2009 at 20:21 | #46

    Great V5 i wait for the launch.
    I used the Beta and is running good on my Win7

  46. September 29th, 2009 at 13:19 | #47

    @Jeanne Dean
    Jeanne,

    Whether you need something else depends on what you do with your computer. If you are just doing email and web browsing, the free AV is sufficient. But you should make sure your Windows firewall is turned on. If you are doing banking online, using credit cards online, etc. you need to make absolutely sure you have a firewall. The upcoming V5 Internet Security Suite will integrate the AV with a firewall and would be your best choice in the future.

  47. September 29th, 2009 at 13:23 | #48

    @nismoh
    Nismoh, I am not sure where your comment on scan speed comes from. Are you sure you have all set up correctly. The AV Comparatives should us having the fastest scan speed. I would suggest redoing the scan and then contacting tech support if you think there is an issue.

    And I think you will be happy with the V5 changes on the screens.

  48. September 29th, 2009 at 20:35 | #49

    I am able update Avast 4 Pro to next Avast 5 Pro without Avast 4 Uninstall? Sorry my bad English!

  49. Heather
    September 29th, 2009 at 20:50 | #50

    Seems like Symantec and Avast are numbers 1 and 2…

  50. September 29th, 2009 at 20:56 | #51

    @hpguru
    Yes hpguru, you can install Avast 5 without removing Avast 4

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