Being the family tech support guy, people often ask my option on which anti-virus software to use. I usually shrug, rattle off 3 or 4 options, and remind them that only suckers pay for anti-malware software. Its always a hard question to answer as your never really know if you’re A/V program of choice is working or not until the worst happens. Also, new malware is going to skip right through all A/V detection algorithms regardless of which program your using.
Fortunately, the fine folks over at AV-Test.org have been so kind as to compile their results from the past 10 months of torture testing.
AV-Test put 17 anti-malware packages, both free and paid, up against a variety of harmful computer creepy-crawlies and scored them based on detection and removal.
In the end, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free topped the list with 100% in system repair. The paid apps Bitdefender Internet Security 2014 came close in second with a score of 99.4%, and F-Secure Internet Security 2014 tied with Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 at 97.8%. The next best scores for free applications came from AVG AntiVirus Free 2014 and Avast! Free Antivirus 9.0.
Just to add my own anecdotal evidence to the results, we recently had a laptop here that came down with a case of digital cooties. Home page hijacks, pop-ups, the usual. In our little battle for computer health, Avast didn’t even detect the malware, AVG found but could not clean it, and Malwarebytes fixed everything.
In case you were wondering, here’s the link to Malwarebytes.
The only drawback to Malwarebytes’ free app is that it does not include real-time scanning. My personal recommendation would be to use another free virus scanner (such as AVG or Avast (I still like Avast due to how lightweight it is on system performance with very few false positives. Obnoxious, overzealous A/V software has caused me more problems than malware lately)), and do a manual scan with Malwarebytes once a month.