The security industry tends to focus on prevention, but even on the best protected system there's always a chance of zero day infections slipping through the net. It's therefore important that products have an effective removal capability too.
The latest report from independent testing organisation AV-Comparatives focuses on 16 of the leading security tools and how good they are at removing malware from infected systems.
The programs were tested against 35 malware samples on a 64-bit version of Windows 8.1. Products were rated on their effectiveness in removing the malware and its remnants, and on their convenience in operation to produce a points score. Removal was ranked on what traces were left over. Convenience was assessed on whether removal could be carried out in normal mode, or whether a rescue disc was required or boot into safe mode.
The top performer in the tests was Kaspersky, earning 93 points, followed by Avast and BitDefender both on 89, AVG on 87 and Avira on 86. ThreatTrack Vipre achieved the lowest score of 65, with Sophos on 72 and Fortinet on 74.
The report suggests that some providers could improve their results by offering a rescue disc option, providing up to date offline installers and not requiring users to login to online accounts to activate cleaning features.
It also recommends that products should check for infection before installing and that there should be the option to download installers with random names to fool malware that attempts to disrupt installation of cleanup tools.
The full report is available to download from the AV-Comparatives site.