By John Gable, Director of Product Marketing
AV-Comparatives.org, a highly respected anti-virus testing organization, recently released its 2009 summary report and awards (also see PC Mag article). Congratulations to the winners: Symantec, Kaspersky, and ESET (note that ZoneAlarm integrates Kaspersky technology for its anti-virus).
Anti-virus (which generally also includes anti-spyware) is only one component of security. Firewall, browser security, identity protection, anti-spam, anti-keylogging, data encryption and more are included in a comprehensive security solution. But there is a great deal to learn from AV-Comparatives, not just in the list of winning companies, but in the test results themselves.
Many top vendors do well blocking known viruses.
The On-Demand Comparative Test examines how well the anti-virus system blocks known viruses. Anti-virus products use large “signature” lists that are continuously updated to identify viruses. The best vendors scored 98.6% and 97.4% with several others showing strong results in the high nineties.
No vendor does well blocking new, unknown viruses.
Some vendors do this better than others, but even the best missed over 40% of new viruses (see the Proactive/Retrospective Test). This is critical because there is always some time gap between the release of a new virus and when it is recognized as something dangerous. You are vulnerable during this time. And with millions of viruses out there today with hundreds of thousands of new viruses hitting the internet, signature lists can not possibly keep up.
Anti-virus is not enough – you need to prevent infection in the first place.
Anti-virus can identify and remove viruses, but these tests show that even the best will sooner or later miss something, especially brand new viruses.
Prevention is our core philosophy which makes us unique.
If you can prevent the virus from getting onto your PC in the first place, you essentially have 100% protection. That is why Check Point ZoneAlarm continues to focus its innovation on prevention technologies. It is how we block attacks others miss.
Some key prevention technologies include:
- Browser security blocks dangerous web sites, dangerous downloads, invisible and automatic “drive-by downloads”, and jams key-loggers and other attacks from interfering with or spying on your web session.
- Advanced Firewall that blocks and makes invisible all ports, managing traffic that goes in and out of your PC. The basic firewall that comes with your operating system leaves lots of holes and vulnerabilities.
- Operating System Firewall monitors traffic and behavior within your operating system, preventing malware from being installed or doing harm.
- Anti-spam removes dangerous email before it gets into your inbox. Modern email programs also prevent scripts and other email attacks from automatically running.
- Data protection like hard drive encryption prevents criminals or curious friends from viewing anything on your laptop.
Stay safe. Use anti-virus but don’t stop there – by itself it’s just not enough.