McAfee, Symantec or Sophos: Who is the best at virus detection, proactive protection and response?

March 12, 2008 Sophos Press Release

IT security and control firm Sophos has been found in an independent test to be superior to Symantec and McAfee at protecting proactively against zero-day malware attacks, detection of known malware, spyware and adware, and responding quickly to new widespread attacks. tested 30 different anti-virus products on Windows XP (Service Pack 2) to see how well they detected 1,130,556 unique malware samples. Sophos accurately detected 98.1% of the malware achieving a rating of "very good", and outperforming McAfee (95.6%) and Symantec (95.7%) who were labelled as "good".

In addition, Sophos received a ranking of "very good" when it came to proactive detection of new, unknown malware, compared to a rating of "good" for McAfee and Symantec.

According to the test results released by, Sophos also outperformed Symantec and McAfee when it came to response time to new widespread malware. Both McAfee and Symantec have been ranked as "satisfactory" with a typical response time of 4-6 hours, compared to Sophos's "good" 2-4 hours.

"Sophos continues to innovate and improve the techniques used to protect against viruses, Trojans, spyware, adware and other threats. It's particularly gratifying to see Sophos praised for being 'very good' at detecting unknown malware," said Guy Edsall, product manager at Sophos. "Sophos received high scores across the board. Combining these excellent protection capabilities with Sophos's underlying philosophy of simple management has been the driver behind many companies switching from Symantec and McAfee to Sophos."

About is a project of the Business-Information-Workgroup at the Institute of Technical and Business Information Systems at the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg (Germany) in cooperation with AV-Test GmbH. At regular intervals tests anti-virus, anti-spyware and personal firewall software on behalf of producers and magazines. Within the scope of product certification works together with the tekit Consult Bonn GmbH (TÜV Saarland group).