Why independent testing is good for Avast Antivirus

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Avast Free Antivirus just received another AV-Test certification for its stellar protection against real-world threats, performance in daily use, and usability.


Yay! It’s like collecting another trophy for the display case or another blue ribbon to hang on the wall, but what does it really mean? How is this type of testing useful for you, our customers?

Ondrej Vlcek, Avast’s Chief Operations Officer explains,

Because of the overwhelming growth of malware targeting consumers and businesses, labs like AV-Test Institute have become an invaluable independent source of data to Avast. Their research has influenced our engineers to expand their knowledge of malware, revolutionize diagnostic and detection methods, and facilitate strategies to get real-time updates to hundreds of millions of people who put their trust in our antivirus products.”

Here’s a little background on the testing lab.

AV-Test Institute is an independent lab designed specifically for testing and researching malware. Located in Magdeburg, Germany, they inhabit 1200m² (12,900 ft²) of space with 3 server rooms and a variety of main and secondary laboratories.

Safety protocols

AVTest labs networks

image via www.av-test.org

Just like a specialized facility that deals with infectious agents, AV-Test has set up safety protocols to avoid accidental infections. The hazardous material they store includes 330 million pieces of malicious test data collected over the past 15 years. Every day, they collect another 390,000 new samples of malware.

Thirty specialists work in three labs with more than 100 workstations connected to three physically separate networks: Red for all the test malware with no internet access, Yellow has limited internet access for malware testing, and Green has full internet access so they can download and update programs.

Test Procedures

Every two months, antivirus products are run through a series of tests using a pre-determined configuration that mimics that of the real world. The AV-Test lab looks at three areas: Protection, Performance, and Usability.

In the August 2015 round,  22 products were run through grueling tests. The products can earn a maximum of six points in each of the three test categories for a total of 18 points.

For example, in the Protection category, Avast Free Antivirus had to recognize over 330 zero-day malware attacks, which means they are new, still unknown threats. In the second phase, the objective was to recognize and defend against just under 45,000 known malware threats from the AV-Test reference sets. The average results for the July and August test were 98% detection for zero-day. Avast Free Antivirus scored 99% and 100%, for an average of 99.5%. Avast Free Antivirus identified 100% of widespread and prevalent malware in the second phase. We improved our overall score over the previous test by a half a percentage point, which makes a difference in the real world.


The award of an AV-TEST CERTIFIED seal of approval is evidence that Avast Free Antivirus has achieved the level of performance and protection defined by the AV-Test labs.

Tests like these, and the ones by Austrian lab AV-Comparatives, are not only for security geeks, but useful for our customers. Even if you never read over the results, you can be guaranteed that we take them seriously and strive to use the information to create the best products we can to protect your home and business PCs, Macs, and Android smartphones and tablets.

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