There are a number of certification
laboratories that test the detection rate of antivirus software, purely
rating products on whether or not they are capable of detecting
in-the-wild viruses. I recommend only choosing products that are
certified by at least one recognised certification scheme. Check the
following sites to see whether the product you're interested in passes
West Coast Checkmark
Virus Bulletin 100% awards http://www.virusbtn.com/index
There may be several certification
programs to choose from and you'll need to match the product version
you're considering with the platform you intend to install it on.
• Effective at Cleaning
or Isolating Infected Files. Does the
product thoroughly clean, delete, repair, or quarantine the infected
file to stop the spread of the virus and save the rest of your
• Performance and Ease of
Use. No product will be effective if
users do not understand how to use it, if certain features are absent,
or if it has a negative impact on their system. How easy is it to
install the software? How easy is it to scan for infected files? Can you
schedule a time when your files will be inspected or specify what files
will be inspected? Are the features easy to access and understand? Some
anti-virus programs interfere with other software - in certain cases
making programs unstable or worse. All anti-virus software will slow
your computer down, but the best have the least impact on performance.
• Ability to update.
Keeping antivirus software up to date is
critical; more so than with any other software. Computer viruses are
being written every day. The product should be able to update easily and
should allow for full customization of the types of files to be scanned.
Does the software developer provide regular updates? Are they free? If
so, for how long? Will the software update automatically, or does the
operation have to be performed manually? Anti-virus software should
provide the option to change any of these settings and to schedule the
automatic updates at a specific time that suits you.
• Activity reporting.
You should be able to view what each
demand scan found and what it did with any infected files. You should
also be notified immediately of any infection found with the realtime
Does the software developer provide adequate
technical support (extensive frequently asked questions/knowledge base,
email support, help desk phone number, etc.)?
• Help Documentation.
Is there a help document available? How
useful is it? Is it easily understood without relying on technical
jargon? Can you find your answers easily?
• Check the system requirements
before you buy.