A recent test done by the independent antivirus research group AV-TEST — whose tests we've mentioned in the past — took a look at the performance of today's most popular malware-removal applications. Most of the applications performed well, but only Malwarebytes — a free download — managed a perfect score.
AV-TEST sought to answer an important question: can anti-malware software completely clean up and repair a Windows system after an attack?
It's a worst-case scenario many users have experienced: Malware defeats the security barriers of their system and becomes embedded there. Is it even possible, in the aftermath of such an attack, to restore the Windows system to its previous condition? It ought to work with the help of antivirus software or clean-up tools. But how effectively do these first responders do their job?
The good news is that overall each application was very effective at providing cleanup and repair to Windows machines, which is important if you think someone has broken into your machine or downloaded some suspicious plugins.
Each application was put through a rigorous endurance test that lasted a total of 10 months. During this time several different malware families were tested repeatedly and the malware even underwent constant evolution along the way. All of the samples used were already known to the removal applications, so the primary purpose of the test was efficiency in detection, complete removal, and restoration. Tests were also conducted on antivirus software, but keep in mind there's a difference between antivirus and anti-malware.
In the end, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free scored a cool 100 per cent in total system repair. The paid apps Bitdefender Internet Security 2014 came close in second with a score of 99.4 per cent, and F-Secure Internet Security 2014 tied with Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 at 97.8 per cent. The next best scores for free applications came from AVG AntiVirus Free 2014 and Avast! Free Antivirus 9.0.
Remember, it's important to keep in mind that these were tested for malware removal and not for virus protection. We can show you what we think are the best desktop antivirus applications, and if you're curious to see how antivirus apps ranked at AV-TEST, click the link below to read more.