Antivirus Test: A Quest for Nearly Objective Rankings


Testing methodology, disclaimer and other stuff

My testing methodology was as unbiased as I could make it. After all, I had a vested interest in finding the best AV solution for my own computer. Of course my testing falls short of the double-blind scientific method, but I think it holds up well for publication in mainstream media. Remember this above all: I was searching for an AV product that would identify and delete the highest number of the test malware that I have. My emphasis in testing was on a high number of detections and my testing penalized software that reported a large number of "false positives."


I used a fresh install of Windows XP, running in a Sun Virtual Box virtual machine, to run all tests. The installation of Windows was fully patched and updated (including SP3) as of Jan. 8, 2009. Each AV program was copied to the main machine from a shared folder and was the only program on the virtual machine not part of a regular Windows install. The test data resided on a logical D:\ drive and consisted of 36,438 pieces of malware. All of the malware has been, or currently is, in the wild. The virtual machine was restored to the previous, pristine state after each test.


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