Q&A How do you pick a security product? Which independent testers do you trust, and why?

mitharogers

New Member
Jan 12, 2021
4
I tried searching for this type of question and was surprised when I couldn’t find it being asked before. Perhaps I missed it but here it is… Just what the title says: How do you pick security products? Which independent testers do you trust? Why do you trust them? Etc.

I took a peak at AV-TEST and was surprised to see how many products were certified and how often products are given 6/6 ratings, almost always in all 3 categories as well. Then I found a blog from Eugene Kaspersky which seems to explain the issue with AV-TEST. The only other organization I know of is AV-Comparatives and though I haven’t heard anything bad about them, I can’t help but wonder if there are other resources I could look at as well?

At the moment I’m wondering if other security products are worth using on MacOS and/or ChromeOS since they both have so many built-in security features. But with the recent major MacOS 0-day that was discovered, I wonder if perhaps third-party security solutions might’ve helped with that in some way or another? (such as preventing users from even accessing said websites in the first place, or possibly even detecting the malware once it bypassed MacOS security)
 

Gangelo

Level 5
Verified
Jul 29, 2017
211
I personally don't use 3rd party or independent test as a basis of what security product I use. Its mostly down to my own experience over
the years and what I feel most comfortable with on a daily basis and when the need arises, I also use the force. :giggle:
Exactly this.
From my side of view, it has to be from a reputable company / developer, works well on my machine and being comfortable with it's settings.
 

EndangeredPootis

Level 10
Verified
Sep 8, 2019
456
I dont trust any independent labs or test videos because none of their tests are realistic scenarios, they just throw thousands of samples at an product and call it an "test", and products that use an outsourced engine, according to them, have 80-90% detection ratio of zero day malware when offline, which should be impssoible.
 

Freud2004

Level 9
Jun 26, 2020
427
I tried searching for this type of question and was surprised when I couldn’t find it being asked before. Perhaps I missed it but here it is… Just what the title says: How do you pick security products? Which independent testers do you trust? Why do you trust them? Etc.

I took a peak at AV-TEST and was surprised to see how many products were certified and how often products are given 6/6 ratings, almost always in all 3 categories as well. Then I found a blog from Eugene Kaspersky which seems to explain the issue with AV-TEST. The only other organization I know of is AV-Comparatives and though I haven’t heard anything bad about them, I can’t help but wonder if there are other resources I could look at as well?

At the moment I’m wondering if other security products are worth using on MacOS and/or ChromeOS since they both have so many built-in security features. But with the recent major MacOS 0-day that was discovered, I wonder if perhaps third-party security solutions might’ve helped with that in some way or another? (such as preventing users from even accessing said websites in the first place, or possibly even detecting the malware once it bypassed MacOS security)

I basically choose my products base on my personal experience and in many years of use of some of them, like Kaspersky and ESET.

In macOS, I don't have any experience, so a try to read a little beat about this matter. My girlfriend by a laptop from MAC with the M1 one chip, and I believe one of the best solution for mac at this moment is Intego, she buy a license and until this moment no problem, very light solution and like almost every sing in MAC the layout of the application is excellent, so consider this for your machine.

 

Andy Ful

Level 72
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
Dec 23, 2014
6,162
It would be hard to find a testing procedure with a "realistic scenario" for all people. Anyway, we have several AV labs that perform reliable tests of Home AVs (Consumer section) - although their testing scenarios are different (AV-Comparatives, AVLab, AV-Test, SE Labs).

These tests are not useful for most people, because the results of one particular test are not meaningful (pretty much random for many AVs). That is why the AV labs recommend many AVs, even when they have different scorings. Two AVs can have the same average protection against millions of in-the-wild samples. But at the same time, they can miss a different number of samples when tested on hundreds of samples. So, one has to analyze the results of many tests to see the real picture.

The tests are usually done for AVs with default settings, which does not show the strength of some AVs.
 
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CyberDevil

Level 2
Apr 4, 2021
91
I'm not really interested in tests, only to find out that the antivirus is not fake. :) I choose a product based on its settings and functionality. For example, in one test, an antivirus can show 99.9% efficiency, because the analysts did a good job updating the signature database, and after that the protection can will become less effective, but another antivirus can have 98%, but with the help of HIPS, behavioral analysis, reputation-based protection, web filter, etc. So its level of protection will be constant. In addition, many things are not tested at all. For example, protection against exploits. I've also never seen any special tests against 0-day loggers and other stealers.
 

mlnevese

Level 24
Verified
May 3, 2015
1,392
If there's something all tests have shown me is that all major brands offer similar protection. Seriously a 0.1-0.3% difference is irrelevant. Actually, even a 1-3% difference is irrelevant. So, if it's a personal machine it's down to performance of each product and best price I can find. Use the entire trial period and use the computer normally, don't go throwing 10000 malwares at it. If it does not give you any headache and you feel comfortable with the interface, go for it.
 

Spawn

Administrator
Verified
Staff member
Jan 8, 2011
21,053
Which independent testers do you trust? Why do you trust them? Etc.

At the moment I’m wondering if other security products are worth using on MacOS and/or ChromeOS since they both have so many built-in security features. But with the recent major MacOS 0-day that was discovered, I wonder if perhaps third-party security solutions might’ve helped with that in some way or another? (such as preventing users from even accessing said websites in the first place, or possibly even detecting the malware once it bypassed MacOS security)
None of them. It's comparable to looking at CPU/GPU benchmarks, a bunch of nonsense.

Not security advice: Don't need an antivirus for macOS or Chrome OS, because what's the overall risk of a zero-day ending up on your Mac or Chromebook? Are you a casual home user, or working in a top secret organisation?
 
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Digmor Crusher

Level 11
Verified
Jan 27, 2018
528
I look at tests for entertainment purposes only, they do not influence my decisions.

I chose a product only after doing extensive research, here and a few other forums.

I will try a product first, probably more than once, before buying. But normally I just use free products, last product I bought was Macrium Reflect a few months ago, its the only paid product I'm using now other than Microsoft 365.
 

Cortex

Level 26
Verified
Aug 4, 2016
1,500
There are a few companies that I've trusted over the years & read good things about them mainly from users on forums - AV tests are as others for entertainment only, how a product works with the PC I'm using it on is critical as I don't want to buy hardware & have it slowed down as there is no need for it - Probably inclined to use the same AV options I did 5 years ago.
 

jetman

Level 9
Verified
Jun 6, 2017
400
Pc Pro Magazine in the UK has gained a very good reputation over the years for high quality, unbiased reviews.

In terms of AV testing, another place to look is selabs.uk which produce quarterly reports.
A while back they found some weaknesses in Bitdefender (which the other labs didn't report) and it looks like they don't have permission to test that software anymore !
 

monkeylove

Level 6
Mar 9, 2014
271
Most cannot conduct their own tests and must rely on others. In which case, consider the testers mentioned and more. And if you don't trust testers because you do your own, then that means you're a tester, too.

Most can, however, do simple CPU benchmarks to determine performance impact besides what feels heavy.

You might think that you don't need security programs for certain operating systems, but that's not necessarily because they are less vulnerable. Rather, malware authors might have reason not to exploit them, e.g., there aren't a lot of users.

Finally, performance and protection might change from time to time, such that what's good now might not be several months from now, and what's light now might not be later, and vice versa. Reasons include changes in the security program and/or operating systems and/or other applications.
 

wat0114

Level 3
Apr 5, 2021
144
I place lots of credence on opinions from security forums and credible looking reviews. Ultimately, however, I trial the product, and if I don't like it for whatever reason, whether it's buggy behaviour (crashing, freezing), lacking key features that limit what I'm looking for, or even just too expensive for what it does, then I won't use it.
 

RyuSCi6

Level 1
Dec 31, 2019
16
Below is my personal list on what to look for.

#1 Antivirus website
- Is it a legit antivirus? -- If it a well-known antivirus, this should be easy.
- What does it protect? -- more like features
- What solutions it offer, are there free solutions?
- Reasonable priced?
- Specifications? -- unless you run on very old computer or laptop, this shouldn't be a problem.

#2 Performance review
- AV-Test, AV-Comparative, SE Labs, TPSC, etc. -- also look for the consistency of the protection.
- Review from the internet/blogs (less reliable) or even someone you know using it
It mandatory to read from many sources since you'll see more perspectives on the product and how well it perform.
(since reviewers doesn't usually test the antivirus the same way, and for additional opinion on the product)

#3 (Ideally) Test the Free/Trial solution it provided
- The most reliable source of review is using the product yourself
- This can tell many things. Is the software work? Is it compatible with your computer settings? How was the user experience? Does it has any problem with your computer? Is the free solution suit your needs? etc.

If all passed then you're good to go.
 
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