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Top Internet Security Software

How To Choose The Best

How does a web site go about choosing the top Internet security software? Well, there are oodles of magazines, rating sites, vendors, and testing shops that have their opinions. Plus, there are several operating systems, business versus home users, and various categories of testing that come into play.

Furthermore, the testing labs don’t test every product in every test they do. Sometimes they test the free version and sometimes the enterprise (big business) version. Sometimes vendors don’t want to be tested and ask to be left out. Other times, the lab’s rules will disqualify a product. All of this makes rating them very difficult.

In the end, there are just too many variables to look at, making it impossible to say something so general as, “Double Whammy Internet Security 2149 is the top Internet security software on the market”. So, what do we do???

Well, the target audience for this web site is the average, non-technical home user: grandmas, students, fantasy football addicts, etc. So, I’m coming from the perspective of a home user running Windows 7 (I hope you upgrade if you haven’t already but if you have XP, it’s OK) who wants to install something and then “fagetaboutit”. If that’s you then you’re in the right place.

The Big Three Testing Labs
What I do here is keep up with three of the large testing firms: AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, and Virus Bulletin. Yes, there are more of them but these three are sufficient for our purposes.

These guys do testing under various categories constantly, 24/7 under all kinds of situations that we may or may not ever see. If anyone is going to get close to what we all face every day on the Net, it’s them.

Now, they do different kinds of tests throughout the year such as, “Real-World Protection Tests”, “False Alarm Tests”, “Anti-Phishing Test” and so on. There’s no good way to boil all of these tests down into a single decision as to who is “best”. In my mind, the next best thing is to adjust a simple scoring method to the latest available tests from all three labs that most closely apply to our target audience, sprinkle some magical pixie dust on it and publish the “winners” as a constantly changing list on the home page.

Did you get all that? No? Well, don’t worry, here’s the bottom line:

I’ve applied the magic formula (full disclosure: it’s not really magic 🙂 to as many products as I could in a spreadsheet. I use the latest test available that fits our needs. So, if AV-Test comes out with a new test in July and that test would be applicable to our ratings, we just run the spreadsheet with the new ratings and see where the chips fall. So, the top Internet security software “winner” is always changing.

Even so, don’t put too much weight on any ratings, including those you find here. I would venture to say that if you chose any of the top three at any given time, you’d be as protected as you can reasonably expect to be. So, don’t get too wound up about it all. The really, really important point is to get something, install it and keep it updated (which it usually does itself).

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