With so many security solutions on the market, navigating performance test results and independent reviews is no easy task. If each vendor claims to offer the best, how can you choose the best for you? That’s leaving aside some important features such as a password manager or a VPN, not to mention key concerns such as computer speed and gaming focus. And what if you have a Mac?
There is no shortage of online reviews, of course, although the users who post them may have any level of cybersecurity expertise, bias, and understanding of what various consumers actually want. Fortunately, independent international organizations specializing in professional cybersecurity testing make their objective approach available. They evaluate all manner of security products: home antivirus utilities, corporate security solutions, parental control apps, password managers, and more.
Several major labs have a strong global reputation. Here are the best-known.
Austrian lab AV-Comparatives is an independent organization with a spotless reputation that has been testing security solutions for more than 20 years;
AV-TEST GmbH, a German independent research institute specializing in IT security, has been testing security solutions for more than 15 years;
British SE Labs has been in the industry for only five years, but its founder, Simon Edwards, is a renowned security expert. He has been in the antivirus testing business for a quarter of a century and was one of the first to deploy real-world attack scenarios in tests.
Knowing how each lab assesses protection, what criteria it uses, and what it focuses on, makes it easier to understand which awards are relevant. With that in mind, we compiled this report on how the laboratories test security solutions.
Antivirus testing: AV-Comparatives
Throughout each year, AV-Comparatives conducts numerous tests based on various criteria: detection and removal of common malware in lab conditions; real-world protection capabilities; performance; protection against complex threats; and false positives.
Based on their aggregate scores, the competing solutions vie for one of three annual awards: Product of the Year, Outstanding Security Product, and Top Rated. But which is best?
The names don’t make intuitive sense. For example, Top Rated status from AV-Comparatives is the equivalent of third place, not “top,” as you might expect from the name. Further, if only one solution scores maximum points for the year, it becomes the Product of the Year. But sometimes more than one product reaches that summit. In such cases, the lab selects the product of the year based on the results of individual tests or confers an honor on the solution with the longest awards drought, leaving the other star performers to share the title of Outstanding Security Product and second place.
Effective protection and high speed
AV-Comparatives awarded Kaspersky Plus its Product of the Year 2020 title. Our solution excelled in all tests and outperformed the toughest competitors by number of accolades. It also won a number of annual awards in each discipline based on results achieved throughout the year:
- Real-World Protection 2020 GOLD — for high performance against real threats with minimal false positives;
- Advanced Threat Protection 2020 GOLD — for best protection against bodiless threats and exploits for known and new software vulnerabilities. This is Kaspersky Internet Security’s second consecutive year winning the gold in this demanding test;
- Lowest False Positives 2020 SILVER — for the fewest false positives in all tests. That means the antivirus does not erroneously react to legitimate programs;
- Malware Protection 2020 BRONZE — for detection of common malware with minimal false positives;
- Best Overall Speed 2020 BRONZE — for minimal impact on system performance while maintaining an optimal level of protection. This puts a lid on the antivirus slowdown myth, at least as far as our products are concerned.
Based on its test results, AV-Comparatives also assigns each antivirus solution a level: Standard, Advanced, or Advanced+. The lab notes that even the Standard level indicates a high-quality solution, although it points to a need for some improvements. For certain product categories (for example, Mac and Android protection, parental control), the levels do not apply — all products that pass the tests receive an Approved badge.
In sum, Kaspersky Internet Security received an Advanced+ rating in every test throughout the year.
Antivirus testing: AV-TEST
The AV-TEST Institute evaluates security solutions in three areas: Protection, Performance, and Usability (false-positive rate). The maximum score for each test is 6 points. AV-TEST uses samples of both the newest and the most common threats to test the level of computer protection.
Solutions that score 17.5–18 points (the maximum being 18) in the course of each two-month test cycle earns Top Product status. Tests are carried out separately for solutions protecting systems under different operating systems, as well as for highly specialized security applications.
Best antivirus for Windows
Kaspersky Internet Security for Windows received the highest possible score in four of the six series of AV-TEST’s tests over the past year; and close to the maximum (17.5 points) in the other two. Our antivirus was a Top Product in all six certifications. The solution has received this status consistently since 2016, the rating’s first year.
Meanwhile, our corporate product, Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business, fell short by half a point on just one of the six tests, performing flawlessly in all the others. Six Top Product awards is an excellent result. The solution confirmed its top status for the fourth straight year. In addition, based on its annual test results, AV-TEST presented the Best Performance award to Kaspersky Endpoint Security for the third year in succession.
Best antivirus for Android
Kaspersky for Android delivered the best result in five of the six test cycles of 2020, and in the first and thus far only test of 2021. Moreover, in catching malware, it scored maximum points on each of the monthly tests, always with minimal impact on the performance of the test gadget.
Best antivirus for macOS
Kaspersky Internet Security for macOS has also been riding high this past year. In all tests in which it participated, our antivirus received the top AV-TEST rating.
Best VPN solution
In VPN testing, Kaspersky Secure Connection also proved its worth. According to independent experts, it demonstrated the best data transfer speeds both between continents and for anonymous surfing, and the best throughput on torrent networks.
Best parental control solution
Kaspersky Safe Kids for Windows 10, Android 8, and iOS 12.4 took part in parental control testing. All three received APPROVED Parental Control Software certificates. To receive this award, a solution must possess all basic features and block unwanted content with minimal false positives.
Antivirus testing: SE Labs
As part of its regular quarterly research on security solutions for workstations, SE Labs carries out two tests: Protection Accuracy Rating and Legitimate Accuracy Rating.
Based on its test results, each product receives an overall, letter-based score: AAA is the highest, followed by AA, A, B, and C. SE Labs also calculates the Total Accuracy Rating, an important consideration when comparing two products with the same letter rating.
In the past year, Kaspersky Plus received AAA ratings in all four SE Labs quarterly tests for home products (the Home Anti-Malware Protection Awards). Also, our antivirus has consistently ranked first in the Total Accuracy Rating.
Incidentally, the company tests not only home antivirus products, but also corporate solutions. Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business received the Best Enterprise Endpoint award, making it Product of the Year for workplace protection in large companies. As for the Total Accuracy Rating, both Kaspersky Endpoint Security and Kaspersky Small Office Security have topped it three times already.
Of course, the choice of security solution is influenced by a range of factors — from clichéd advertising to advice from friends and family. However, if you are serious about this issue, the evaluations of independent international organizations make a weighty argument in favor of a particular solution. That is why we actively participate in external independent tests and intend to continue doing so. For us, this is not a mere marketing ploy; a professional outside opinion helps us to control the quality of our technologies and solutions objectively. As you can see, Kaspersky solutions show a consistently high level of performance. The results speak for themselves.