This test aims to compare the effectiveness of the most recent releases of popular security suites. These programs typically include anti-virus and firewall features alongside a collection of other utilities and services.
A total of 12 products were exposed to genuine internet threats that real customers could have encountered during the test period. Crucially, this exposure was carried out in a realistic way, reflecting a customer's experience as closely as possible. For example, each test system visited genuinely infected websites and downloaded pages, exploits and malicious files exactly as an average user would.
We also tested how each product handled legitimate applications. These were downloaded from Download.com or the original site as directed by Download.com. The popularity of each program was taken into account.
Products are awarded marks for detecting real threats and providing adequate protection. Points are deducted for failing to protect the system and for falsely condemning legitimate software.