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February 4th, 2011

Eset’s creative interpretation of testing

In 2009, Symantec ran a full-page advertisement in PC Magazine explaining to readers that because Norton has the most virus definition updates (222 per day) they also have the best detection score of 97.9% compared to all others.  We at AVAST liked the ad for a better reason:  we had only 1 update per day and were second best after Norton in detection. Look at the advert snap shot.

However, driven by curiosity I looked up the actual test from AV-Comparatives.org and to my surprise learned that Norton has used a decent dose of creative-results interpretation by ignoring Avira and G-Data, both of which scored even better than Norton in detection!

I thought this level of creativity would be difficult to beat but I was wrong! 

Our resellers pointed us to these comparison documents from Eset:

-          Eset vs. avast! Pro Antivirus
-          Eset vs. avast! Internet Security
-          Eset vs. avast! Exchange

Each comparison starts with features overview and, since the features are based on “vendor Marketing Materials available online” and each brand is using different feature names, I might have some sympathy for some of the misinterpretations.  But several of them are just screaming inaccuracy:

-          Yes, avast! 4 Exchange Server is using heuristic detection…
-          Yes, indeed avast! has a sample submission system (avast! CommunityIQ) ….
-          Yes, avast! has a fast scan (Intelligent Scan) that increases the speed up to 80% …

Read the website. It’s there

But the real horror was to plow through the listed detection and performance indicators. Reading these, It must be “clear” to anyone that based on the cited tests of AV-Comparatives, AV-Test, and Virus Bulletin that avast! can’t measure up. But guess what – it is not the case at all. It is just a highly creative interpretation of facts.

For starters, all tests listed here to prove the superiority of Eset are dated 2008 and 2009. But the actual products compared (avast! Pro Antivirus and avast! Internet Security) were only launched in January 2010. To prove that Eset has better scanning speed, it argues (!) by listing a Windows 2008 Server Edition test from 2008!

Boot-time overhead is argued based on an AV-Comparatives test from October 2008!

And it gets better.  When you check the actual tests, you will find a False Positive score of 33 listed for avast! for all tests in 2009. But the real number in the same tests for Eset is not 9 (as listed), but 25.  A typo?

And my favorite: the documents argue that Eset has superior heuristics detection as documented in AV-Comparatives test. But it fails to mention the compulsory requirement of AV-Comparatives to notice all who publish the results and explain about the limits of this test. In nutshell, the test does not measure the impact of behavior blockers, which limits the data value. As if this wasn’t enough, the cited tests from 2008 and 2009 correctly list the Eset score at 55% but the score for avast! is incorrect.   A typo again?

So let’s look at the more relevant 2010 tests and see how we do vis-à-vis with Eset. It also needs to be said that the 2010 tests include avast! Free Antivirus and how it compares to all other paid-for products, including Eset Nod32 AntiVirus.

Detection:
Aug 2010:  On-Demand Test AV Comparatives.org
avast! Free Antivirus 5.0              99.3%
Nod32 Antivirus 4.2                       98.6%

Dec 2010:  VB100 Comparative Review on W7    (On-Demand /  On-Access)
avast! Free Antivirus 5.0              97.7%  /  98.2%
Nod32 Antivirus 4.2                      97.1%   /  97.5%

Heuristic Detection:
Since the heuristic test has its specifics as described above, we could look at the Proactive detection tested by Virus Bulletin (heuristic capability of the application = detection of new malware with an outdated virus-definition database).

Dec 2010:  VB100 Comparative Review on W7  (Proactive Detection)
avast! Free Antivirus 5.0              80.65%
Nod32 Antivirus 4.2                       81.29%

Speed:
Aug 2010:  AV Comparatives.org
avast! Free Antivirus 5.0              17 MB/s
Nod32 Antivirus 4.2                       10 MB/s

Dec 2010:  VB100 Comparative Review on W7
avast! Free Antivirus 5.0              28 MB/s
Nod32 Antivirus 4.2                       12 MB/s

To avoid any doubts, Eset is an excellent product and has an impressive record of achieving the best scores in various tests and awards. But in my opinion, because of its record and its reputation, it would be better to stop “creative interpretations” and use the facts as they are.

  1. February 4th, 2011 at 14:54 | #1

    I have a bad moment with ESET.
    So I switched to avast and it works better.

    Cheers!

  2. Marko
    February 4th, 2011 at 15:47 | #2

    I use ESET, and i don’t care about this marketing bul****, it’s just work good and it’s enough for me.

    GBY

  3. February 4th, 2011 at 15:50 | #3

    The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me avast! :)
    Thanks for setting the record straight Milos.

  4. February 4th, 2011 at 15:53 | #4

    No surprise there. ESET has always been kind of shady. I remembered when they launched their firewall in v4 and it was disconnecting people constantly. It took them weeks to admit there was a fault. Not the kind of customer service if you want from your anti-virus provider.

    No AV solution is perfect, but Avast does a damn fine job.

  5. Andrei
    February 4th, 2011 at 15:56 | #5

    I had ESET before and there were some problems with my comp. So I had to reinstall system. Then I switchet to AVAST and everything’s ok now and for more than a year. Maybe I could find some threads if I scan my comp with other antivirus utilities, but never the less, my comp works good. Not like it was with ESET.

  6. February 4th, 2011 at 16:14 | #6

    I love Avast! because of its friendly GUI, and simple+easy to understand

  7. Riseup
    February 4th, 2011 at 16:15 | #7

    IMHO, that’s rubbish…. and a outrageous way to make ESET involved in controversy… You just have to ask any hardware reseller (as I am). He will answer you that 99% of infected PC he has to repair are “protected” by AVAST! At this point, I would say that if you meet problems with ESET, so that’s you’re a PICNIC (Pain Is in Chair, Not In Computer….) user… Sorry guys !! I’ve never have had any problem with ESET, but I kind of understand those who need to discredit them, the top is always aimed, that’s the game.

  8. dhym
    February 4th, 2011 at 16:26 | #8

    Avast is best antivirus i ever see..
    thanks for avast team
    keep moving ahead.

  9. Milos Korenko
    February 4th, 2011 at 16:30 | #9

    @Riseup
    But that is the point, isn’t it? Why fabricate bogus reasons to show benefits of one product to another. ESET is good product and doesn’t have to do this.

    Are we shooting at Eset to be visible? ;o) I’m really not going to reply to that.

    Regarding the 99%. I have my doubts regarding the statistics but would only say that giving the product to so many users for free means they could ignore the warning or simply forget to register the license and are indeed not protected. Many of the users have their computer set up for them. It is fairly easy for Symantec or other paid brands to automatically charge the credit card at each renewal… But of course we don’t do that.

  10. Aethec
    February 4th, 2011 at 16:32 | #10

    @Riseup
    Yeah…because everyone is going to believe a “hardware reseller” (you could be an ESET salesman for all we know) and not tests from known, trusted companies.
    I’m not that much of an avast! fanboy, but your post is obviously biased…Milos Korenko listed the actual scores and most of them are not what ESET want them to be – period.

  11. Riseup
    February 4th, 2011 at 16:55 | #11

    Good grief my answer made you react :

    @ Milos Korenko :
    “Are we shooting at Eset to be visible? ;o) I’m really not going to reply to that.”
    That’s the point. I’m not fond at all of this kind of practice. Polemic over polemics could put you at a disavantage and get you a poor image, even if you could be right in a certain measure… By the way, as I said before that’s the game.

    @Aethec : thanks for your concern sir, I just give my point of view, and the feedback of my daily adventures… But maybe did you think everyone would rather believe an AVAST blogger ? (you could be one of that kind, too)
    I don’t think that’s a constructive way of debating, especially with a gentleman like me :oD

  12. LunarWolf
    February 4th, 2011 at 18:18 | #12

    From av-comparatives, it is ALWAYS obvious that ESET have a better heuristics than avast.But I am still a avast user. Why? Because I like their ideas and they are committed to give a free and good quality product. I have used ESET and I am impressed with it? No I am not impress. It claims it is the lightest antivirus but it is wrong. It used ~50mb of ram on my computer. avast uses only ~20mb of ram.

    If you read wilders forum, you will know that ESET USED to be good in version 2. It all started going down hill with version 3. Even when the bugs in version 3 is not resolve, then release version 4 and change the GUI. Read it. http://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=290248

    But my friend swear by ESET so I don’t know. Anyway, it is just marketing trick by ESET. So chill down.

  13. Adam
    February 4th, 2011 at 18:55 | #13

    “Regarding the 99%. I have my doubts regarding the statistics but would only say that giving the product to so many users for free means they could ignore the warning or simply forget to register the license and are indeed not protected. Many of the users have their computer set up for them. It is fairly easy for Symantec or other paid brands to automatically charge the credit card at each renewal… But of course we don’t do that.” Why would users who download a free product need to register in the first place? Why not have a product that is free automatically renew itself? Thus eliminating the need for people to register as well as continue to have ongoing virus protection. By making people register is in a sense a way to say,” Hey if you buy our product you never have to worry about registering because you will get a full year of our amazing product. But if you just get our free edition and don’t register, you are really getting a time limited version. Heck of a marketing strategy.

  14. Milos Korenko
    February 4th, 2011 at 19:52 | #14

    @Adam
    ;o) Not quite. As always the devil is in the details.

    Yes we provide Free Antivirus for home, non-commercial use based on 1 year license registration. Why? For starters, because we believe there needs to be some limitation. The free version is no “limited” or “base” or “crippled”. Not at all. The free version has the same scanning engine and the same technology as the paid-for Pro Antivirus. When it gets to viruses, spyware, trojans, rootkits or any malware in general – the Free has the same detection as the paid version.

    Once a year, during the re-registration (and you could easily register from the application with few clicks) we offer to the user to prolong the Free licence or to upgrade to the paid-for. We are upfront about it. There are no tricks. The revenue generated from the upgrades gives us sufficient means to pay for the new product development, virus lab, technologies, updates bandwidth, and so on.

    Could we do it without the registration? Well there are companies offering Free antivirus who don’t use it. But – without naming – in some cases you will get quite inferior product. Or you will get great product but will need to live with two pop-ups each day telling you to upgrade or be forced to re-install new version few times a year with each change of the decimal version number.

    And then there is Microsoft and its MSE. But to put it in perspective… the whole AV market is estimated at about $8 billion / year. Majority goes to Symantec and McAfee while the rest goes to number of other brands like us. But Microsoft (look up their annual report) generates over $60 billion revenue and spends $13 billion on marketing and sales. Of course they could afford it ;o)

    We provide 120 million users with good protection. To make it possible we do require annual registration. While not having the $60 billion – We strongly believe that the registration is better solution than the alternatives.

  15. February 4th, 2011 at 20:30 | #15

    I used to like NOD32 back in the 2,5 and 2.7 era. The interface was unique but i liked it. And it was ridiculously fast. However, these days it’s not all that good.
    We have their stuff on work computers and whenever i download anything for customers i get a massive lag when HTTP scanner is checking the downloads. avast! NEVER does that even though it’s also scanning HTTP streams.

  16. February 4th, 2011 at 20:33 | #16

    I’d like to think that, maybe the marketing strategists from the other companies are way~~ over-budget and should be axed because of three reasons 1.) they overcompensate 2.) they party too much before the horses are in 3.) you’re using the wrong Crayola™ imitation formulation(which is harmful to kids)..

    Seriously, what llamas-ass did they pull those figures out off?? If not for Norton and McAfee’s desperate move to bundle their AV/security software with a bunch of other much needed softwares (hint: Adobe, etc.), they’d be dead. Nobody trusts their AVs to detect, much less remove viruses/malwares, since 2001 (I liked their DOS version though, really retro).

    As a consumer and a consultant, we want solid protection (hint: prevention) and performance to go hand in hand.. Sadly those two stated above are really just B.S., Kaspersky does way more than those two, and Avast does far more.. Avast actually prevents Mabezat.B/Sality etc. from executing through superior Heuristic/Behaviour engine.

  17. February 4th, 2011 at 20:43 | #17

    Oh, if those a~holes from microsoft catches wind, they pull their revenues from monitoring your internet traffic from their recent “security patch” on win 7/Vista/XP. If you have problems with your recently “patched” MOS (their live-call reps, which you’re actually paying per call) they generously monitor your behavior and kindly point you (your browser) to the most likely place you might want to be based on your recent internet usage (regardless of your browser/IM/mail program preference) Hence, Bing™ over Google on IE 7 or up.

    Happy surfing from microsoft, and microsoft windows defender(which actually does nothing on your system BUT CLOG IT).

  18. February 4th, 2011 at 20:50 | #18

    @Riseup
    You must mean the earlier versions of the Avast engine, if it’s a blue icon (it’s old), if it’s the orange thingy (it really rocks).

    And please stop using cracked versions of ESET’s NOD32.. Oh, yes, they know. ever checked their engine signature after an update??..

  19. 00
    February 4th, 2011 at 22:36 | #19
  20. 00
    February 4th, 2011 at 22:38 | #20

    @00
    ESET 56% vs Avast 43%

  21. Milos Korenko
    February 5th, 2011 at 00:04 | #21

    @00
    Yes. Those are the “heuristic” tests. Please read carefully the NOTIFICATION given by AV Comparatives. The test is limited and doesn’t take into account detection by Behavior Blockers – such as used in Avast.

  22. Sparxx
    February 5th, 2011 at 00:08 | #22

    @Riseup
    LOL, don’t make me laugh, i work in “computer business” for 15 years and i have seen a lot, and believe me i seen a lot of destroyed systems with actually all the major antiviruses, so don’t think Eset is better because it simply isn’t, actually eset is one of the worst you can get for a paid antivirus.

  23. xxx
    February 5th, 2011 at 00:50 | #23

    @Milos: VirusBulletin does not take into account Behavior Blockers too.

  24. Sua
    February 5th, 2011 at 05:22 | #24

    What’s happening?This is not a real Avast! I know.The real Avast! I know is humble one.:(

  25. aryajaya.com
    February 5th, 2011 at 05:43 | #25

    BRAVO AVAST1. KEEP MOVING TO THE TOP

  26. Sua
    February 5th, 2011 at 05:54 | #26

    @Sua
    I meant that you can show ESET is bashing on other competitors but don’t show the result that Avast! got higher detection rate in this article.I hope that you can erase this:

    “Detection:
    Aug 2010: On-Demand Test AV Comparatives.org
    avast! Free Antivirus 5.0 99.3%
    Nod32 Antivirus 4.2 98.6%

    Dec 2010: VB100 Comparative Review on W7 (On-Demand / On-Access)
    avast! Free Antivirus 5.0 97.7% / 98.2%
    Nod32 Antivirus 4.2 97.1% / 97.5%

    Heuristic Detection:
    Since the heuristic test has its specifics as described above, we could look at the Proactive detection tested by Virus Bulletin (heuristic capability of the application = detection of new malware with an outdated virus-definition database).

    Dec 2010: VB100 Comparative Review on W7 (Proactive Detection)
    avast! Free Antivirus 5.0 80.65%
    Nod32 Antivirus 4.2 81.29%

    Speed:
    Aug 2010: AV Comparatives.org
    avast! Free Antivirus 5.0 17 MB/s
    Nod32 Antivirus 4.2 10 MB/s

    Dec 2010: VB100 Comparative Review on W7
    avast! Free Antivirus 5.0 28 MB/s
    Nod32 Antivirus 4.2 12 MB/s ”

    This sounds like Avast! trash back to ESET.I know you want to prove that Avast! had improved a lot nowadays but just keep it inside,no need to show off.

  27. david starbuck
    February 5th, 2011 at 13:22 | #27

    i love avast and its does a good job but kaspersky i was with at the time was slow and keep on crashing my laptop and i had to fix it all the time so i movedd to avast

  28. February 5th, 2011 at 16:18 | #28

    i love avast and its does a good

  29. February 6th, 2011 at 03:05 | #29

    I’m an it specialist myself and after convincing my boss, we switched from using several anti virus applications to Avast for all of our +1500 workstations and servers and never had a problem since. we had an outbreak several years ago and used Avast to clean our systems…..

  30. February 6th, 2011 at 05:07 | #30

    @Marko

    Marko, I agree, the product performance is more important than marketing drivel. But this isn’t marketing bs, this is Eset tampering with independent test results in order to make themselves look better than other products, which is misleading to consumers.

    This would be like someone taking their SAT exams, then misrepresenting their test results to a college when they applied. And you’d be just about as likely to get away with it as Eset was. -_-

    It’s a pretty big deal. Misrepresenting facts to the point of not only omitting facts, but also outright changing them! AV software is some of the most intrusive software you can install willingly on your computer. It will scan every single file on your computer. When it comes to a product with that kind of access to my personal information, I want to feel like the company behind that product is worthy of my trust. Misrepresenting facts and just outright lies to their customers doesn’t do a lot on Eset’s behalf to build that trust that people should expect from their AV vendor.

  31. February 6th, 2011 at 16:22 | #31

    Riseup :
    IMHO, that’s rubbish…. and a outrageous way to make ESET involved in controversy… You just have to ask any hardware reseller (as I am). He will answer you that 99% of infected PC he has to repair are “protected” by AVAST! At this point, I would say that if you meet problems with ESET, so that’s you’re a PICNIC (Pain Is in Chair, Not In Computer….) user… Sorry guys !! I’ve never have had any problem with ESET, but I kind of understand those who need to discredit them, the top is always aimed, that’s the game.

    Hardware resellers troubleshoot software issues? O.o

    Well, anyway, I came here with a similar attitude when I first saw the post title, “Why sling mud just for the heck of it?” But when I read the article I saw this was simply not the case. Eset started it by making misrepresentations about test results by omitting and altering the facts. Avast! didn’t say “Eset sucks” or anything like that, they just stated the the results Eset was using in their marketing material were incorrect. They also went on to post the correct results, which I don’t think is going too far either, as another poster suggested, that’s part of setting the record straight, providing the honest and unaltered test scores.

    This is a pretty big deal because that gives them an unfair advantage over the companies which are posting the honest and unaltered results. This is insulting not only to their competitors, but also to the people who performed these independent tests, I’m sure they didn’t put in the long hours of hard work to test all of these products with the intentions that the AV vendors alter the results as they see fit. Even worse, they really called Avast! out by comparing themselves to Avast! specifically, out of all their possible competitors, and Avast! actually comes out on top if they hadn’t doctored the results, which really looks bad on Eset. I think Avast! is totally justified in posting this information considering the situation. Avast! isn’t dragging Eset into an “outrageous way to make ESET involved in controversy.” Eset created the issue when they doctored the results to make themselves look better when directly compared to Avast! I mean, that seems like uncompetitive business practices to me, that’s the stuff lawsuits are made of, know what I’m saying? So Eset should thank their lucky star if all that comes of it is they get called on their devious ways on Avast!’s blog. ;)

  32. Kenji Yamato
    February 7th, 2011 at 00:57 | #32

    ESET NOD32 Antivirus has achieved more Virus Bulletin VB100 Awards than any other product. = 65 VB’s

    Hey Milos Korenko, I also no like this Marketing but i see some envy here… !

  33. igor
    February 7th, 2011 at 01:24 | #33

    @Kenji Yamato
    You do? Then I really don’t know what you’re looking at…

    Regarding past VB results… does anybody really care how a particular product performed 10 years ago? Or rather – does anybody really think it has any relevance whatsoever for today’s performance?

  34. Kenji Yamato
    February 7th, 2011 at 01:48 | #34

    @igor

    You’re a fanboy does not understand about doing quality work and keep that job, because your Avast never did a good job today and not even 10 years ago.

  35. igor
    February 7th, 2011 at 11:06 | #35

    Dear Kenji, I know the weak points of avast! pretty well, certainly better than you (being one of the developers).

    What I was trying to say, and what you seem to have failed to understand, is that the world of malware, and hence the world of AV solutions that have to follow the trends, is very dynamic, it changes rapidly. Being a great product years ago doesn’t imply being a great product now. Judging the performance according to 10 years old results is like… going to buy a car and base the decision on how the models did 100 years ago. You’re free to do so, of course, but you shouldn’t be surprised if you get a weak product.

    Like Milos, I’m not trying to compare the quality of NOD and avast! in any way – I’m speaking completely generally. Yes, NOD is a good product and I’m not saying the opposite. But there’s certainly no envy about past VB100 numbers – nobody really cares about them here.

  36. February 7th, 2011 at 21:45 | #36

    I laugh on eset they are more creative,thanks man and keep up good work.

  37. yaslaw
    February 8th, 2011 at 20:45 | #37

    Today Eset reponse:

    First, we’d like to acknowledge a mistake on the comparative sheets in the false
    positive and proactive detection sections. This was an honest mistake and we
    appreciate that it was brought to our attention. ESET prides itself on the trust
    we’ve built with our customers and the public and we would never knowingly
    publish incorrect or misleading results

    Historically, there is no doubt that ESET has a great track record with 66 VB100
    awards. In AV Comparative retrospective tests, ESET has a clean record of scoring
    the highest (Advanced+) award.

    Looking at the data Avast! posted towards the end of their blog, ESET’s detection
    is higher than Avast!’s in Virus Bulletin tests. In AV Comparative tests of detection
    from August 2010, ESET’s score is 0.7% lower than Avast!’s, while ESET has 3 false
    positives less than Avast!. In the heuristics section, the numbers show ESET’s
    heuristic detection is better. When we look at the last AV Comparative report
    from November 2010, ESET has 56% and Avast! has 43%. When reviewing such
    tests, one can look at each category and find better or worse numbers for each
    product.

    Other vendors make their HIPS functionality modular so it appears to be similar to
    a behavior blocker. ESET has chosen a different approach and integrated our HIPS
    into the program’s heuristics to let it decide the best action. Hence the typical
    behavior blocker list of rules is missing.

  38. Aline
    February 8th, 2011 at 21:00 | #38

    ESET forever!

  39. g
    February 9th, 2011 at 20:49 | #39

    basing any comparison on AV comparatives results sux a little bit, e.g. what’s the point of comparing scanning speed if the product has low detection rate or high FP ratio?

  40. Sua
  41. Ed Rush
    February 11th, 2011 at 01:12 | #41

    I much wait CeBit 2011 for see ESET announce version 5 :D

  42. February 11th, 2011 at 19:45 | #42

    bob3160 :
    The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me avast!
    Thanks for setting the record straight Milos.

    I agreed with you Bob,

    Please gentleman read this article carefully and don’t take your emotion over your ratio… there’s a facts that we should compare and learn before we judge this article have a mistaken information or not…

    be a wise to judge something…

    cheers

    Yanto Chiang

    cheers,
    Yanto Chiang

  43. February 11th, 2011 at 19:49 | #43

    Time Saving Truth from Falsehood and Envy, François Lemoyne, 1737

  44. Chris Thomas
    February 14th, 2011 at 18:10 | #44

    I have used Avast free (versions 4 then 5) for a long time. I surf dangerous places and have yet to be infected with malware. Avast is so light on resources – Windows systems run like scalded cats and are miraculously stable. It coexists extrememly well with Agnitum Outpost Firewall Pro version 7.

    Avast version 6 promises to be even better. Change to another AV? Not on your life!

  45. Gede Agung Surya
    February 23rd, 2011 at 07:19 | #45

    Avast! is the best AV..

  46. Tech
    February 25th, 2011 at 21:05 | #46

    They removed the pages?
    Did they read this blog?

  47. PRATIM
    February 26th, 2011 at 05:00 | #47

    it work so effectively and i use the free version it also good ..
    i am happy to use it..

  48. Milos Korenko
    February 26th, 2011 at 12:57 | #48

    @Tech
    I wrote a e-mail to Eset to remove the pages. They did so quite quickly.
    m

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