When you buy antivirus software from a major brand, you expect that software to protect your computer better than free software you could download online.

Unfortunately for PC users, it looks like we’ve all been duped. Recent antivirus software testing performed by a German security company called AV-Test resulted in fail grades for a number of so-called ‘top’ antivirus programs.

Who failed?

AV-Test certification is well-known throughout the antivirus software world and among consumers. But many major brands failed to make the grade in recent testing. The failed brands included:

-PC Tools


-Microsoft Security Essentials

In response to the high failure rate among antivirus programs, AV-Test CEO Andreas Marx said:

“More products than usual had difficulties to meet our high standards and therefore failed receiving the AV-Test certification.”

You can view the exact scores each antivirus software program received here. You can use that list to sort through programs based on their ability to protect and repair your console (each worth 6 points) along with their ‘usability’, which is also worth six points.

Worst antivirus software for usability

The three worst antivirus programs in terms of their user experience and interface were:


-Trend Micro: Titanium Maximum Security

-Norman: Security Suite Pro 9.0

Worst antivirus software for protection

The three worst antivirus programs in terms of their ability to protect your computer against threats before infection are:

-Microsoft Security Essentials


-Lavasoft Ad-Aware Pro Security

Worst antivirus software for repairing malware problems

The three worst antivirus programs in terms of their ability to repair your computer after a malware attack include:

-PC tools: Internet Security 2012


-Tencent: PC Manager

As you can see, AhnLab (which previously received a passing grade on the AV-Test certification process) performed dismally in this most recent study. Be sure to avoid the antivirus software listed in the categories above.

The problem with Microsoft Security Essentials


Microsoft Security Essentials once again failed to make the grade on the AV-Test process. What’s up with that? Well, MSE had one of the highest usability scores on the test, achieving a total of 5.5 points out of a possible 6. But it failed in terms of its ability to protect (1.5/6) and repair (3.0/6) your computer.

In other words, the team at Microsoft appeared to spend more time making their program look good than they did  creating effective antivirus protection technology. Whoops!

If this article sounds like déjà vu to you, then you’re not crazy: we wrote an article a few months ago in which Microsoft Security Essentials performed dismally in AV-Test antivirus testing. And unfortunately for PC users, it doesn’t look like the software has improved since that point.

Best antivirus software according to AV-Test

Although Microsoft Security Essentials and other major brands all failed to make the cut, that doesn’t mean all antivirus software is bad. Three programs dominated the AV-Test, scoring high in all three categories. Those programs are:




If you use any of those top 3 antivirus programs, your computer should be well-protected against any threats that come its way.

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