Security suites jockey for position on Windows 8.1

The first security suite tests are in on Windows 8.1, and the picture remains mediocre for most of them. Still, almost all of them improved on Windows 8.1's default security.

Seth Rosenblatt Former Senior Writer / News
Senior writer Seth Rosenblatt covered Google and security for CNET News, with occasional forays into tech and pop culture. Formerly a CNET Reviews senior editor for software, he has written about nearly every category of software and app available.
Seth Rosenblatt
2 min read

Independent security testing firm AV-Test.org released its first Windows 8.1 results earlier this week, showing that, once again, most security suites are capable, but not great, at protecting you from threats.

AV-Test spent most of 2013 focusing on testing security suites on versions of Windows prior to Windows 8. The company's January and February tests showed that top-rated suites on Windows 7 generally performed well on Windows 8. The new Windows 8.1 tests saw similar results.

The new tests compared 24 suites during November and December 2013 on Windows 8.1 with no default security features disabled unless the suite itself disabled them. Leading the pack on Windows 8.1 was BitDefender Internet Security 2014, as it did on Windows 8. BitDefender tied with Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 for best paid suite, both scoring a perfect 18 out of 18. Close behind was Avira Internet Security 2014, at 17.5, and F-Secure Internet Security 2014 at 16.5.

Free security suites scored a bit lower, as they generally do. Panda Security's Cloud Antivirus Free 2.3 led the pack at 15.5 out of 18. AVG Anti-Virus Free 2014 and its paid counterpart, AVG Internet Security 2014, both hit 15, although the paid version had slightly better protection and slightly worse performance. Avast Free Antivirus 2014 notched 14.5 with a low protection score, while Avira did not submit its free suite for testing.

Windows 8.1 without a security suite installed scores an 11 out of 18 on AV-Test's tests, a benchmark that two suites failed to reach. Kingsoft Antivirus 2013, the most recent version available at the time of testing, missed the mark at 10.5 out of 18, while AhnLab's V3 Internet Security 8.0 collapsed at 9.5.