THE BEST WIN­DOWS SE­CU­RITY SUITES

Nathan Taylor un­cov­ers the best se­cu­rity apps for be­gin­ners, pros and even users who don’t want to pay a cent.

APC Australia - - Superguide Contents -

We un­cover the best se­cu­rity suites for all types of Win­dows users.

Mi­crosoft is, with­out a doubt, far bet­ter than it once was when it comes to se­cu­rity. Its an­tivirus tool is no longer a joke, Win­dows fire­wall is more than ca­pa­ble and even its re­cov­ery and backup sys­tems have im­proved over time. But it’s still not up to the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of a full se­cu­rity suite. The likes of BitDe­fender, Kasper­sky and Sy­man­tec have re­mained a step ahead when it comes to se­cu­rity, and still have bet­ter anti-mal­ware, su­pe­rior parental con­trols op­tions and a range of sys­tem tools that Win­dows just doesn’t have built-in.

So if you’re look­ing to up your se­cu­rity game, a third-party se­cu­rity suite is still your best bet, and to com­ple­ment this month’s su­per­guide, we’re go­ing to look at our cur­rent three favourites. We have an ed­i­tor’s pick for techie types, an­other for be­gin­ners and a third for peo­ple just look­ing for a free suite with pre­mium fea­tures.

The choices are based partly on test re­sults, but also on ad­di­tional fea­tures and us­abil­ity. For pros, we chose the suite that gives you the most tools to work with. For be­gin­ners, we looked for the suite that does the most while both­er­ing you the least. And for the free suite, we looked for the tool that did the most in a sin­gle pack­age with­out cost­ing a cent.

TEST RE­SULTS

Each of the suites re­viewed here has been com­pre­hen­sively tested by in­de­pen­dent an­tivi­ral anal­y­sis com­pany AV-Test ( www.av-test.org). We’ve pub­lished here the lat­est re­sults avail­able at the time of writ­ing, from June 2017.

Note that the re­sults are not, in all cases, from the spe­cific prod­ucts we’ve re­viewed. For ex­am­ple, we may have looked at the full suite where AV-Test may have only tested the stand­alone anti-virus ap­pli­ca­tion, or we may have a prod­uct that has been up­dated since the tests were per­formed in June. That doesn’t change the va­lid­ity of the re­sults, since the same an­tivirus en­gine is in use. So let’s break down what the num­bers mean:

“The likes of BitDe­fender, Kasper­sky and Sy­man­tec have re­mained a step ahead when it comes to se­cu­rity, and still have bet­ter anti-mal­ware, su­pe­rior parental con­trols op­tions and a range of sys­tem tools that Win­dows just doesn’t have built-in.”

Pro­tec­tion against 0-day mal­ware at­tacks is a mea­sure of the suite’s abil­ity to de­tect new viruses based on their be­hav­iour.

It’s per­haps the most im­por­tant num­ber here.

De­tec­tion of wide­spread and preva­lent mal­ware shows the de­tec­tion per­cent­age of known viruses re­leased in the four weeks be­fore the test.

The per­for­mance im­pact rat­ings give per­cent­ages by which the suite slows down a mid-range PC when per­form­ing com­mon tasks.

False warn­ings is the num­ber of in­stances where the suite flagged le­git­i­mate soft­ware and web­sites as a threat and ei­ther blocked it or pro­duced a warn­ing popup.

For con­ve­nience, AV-Test also pro­vides three over­all scores, rat­ing each suite’s pro­tec­tion, per­for­mance im­pact and us­abil­ity out of 6, to give a to­tal score out of 18. (Us­abil­ity, in this in­stance, is not a ref­er­ence to ease-of-use, but is based on the num­ber of times the pro­gram pro­duced false pop­ups and blocked le­git­i­mate soft­ware). We should note that AV-Tests ag­gre­gate scores are based on com­bined May–Jun per­for­mance, while we’ve only printed June re­sults for space rea­sons.

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