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Trend, Sophos and McAfee flunk Vista SP1 anti-virus tests

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Top tier anti-virus vendors including McAfee, Trend Micro, and Sophos all failed to secure Windows Vista SP1 in recent independent tests.

Virus Bulletin, the independent security certification body, said 17 of 37 anti-virus products tested failed to reach the VB100 certification standard. McAfee VirusScan, Trend Micro Internet Security and Sophos Anti-Virus overlooked threats known to be in circulation. Other vendors whose products failed to make the grade included Alwil, BitDefender, Norman, PC Tools, and VirusBuster.

Some of the ignored threats - largely polymorphic file infectors - have been in circulation for months. "It is disappointing to see so many products tripping up over threats that are not even new - computer users should be getting a better service from their anti-virus vendors than this," Virus Bulletin technical consultant John Hawes said.

Products from Symantec, Microsoft (which has problems in the past in previous VB100 tests), AVG, and Kaspersky Lab all passed.

Although still lagging behind Windows XP, Vista is likely to see more widespread use with the introduction of its first service pack, making it more important for anti-virus vendors to deliver dependable protection for the platform. Vista SP1 came out in mid March.

Virus Bulletin's VB100 tests pit each anti-virus product against a set of viruses from the WildList, a publicly available up-to-date list of viruses known to be circulating. To earn VB100 certification, products must be able to detect all the viruses contained in the WildList test set without generating false alarms when scanning a set of clean files.

Unlike other certification schemes, Virus Bulletin tests all products free of charge and does not allow re-testing. Virus Bulletin's comparative reviews also cover detection rates against a selection of zoo viruses (those not seen outside the laboratory), scanning speeds, and computational overheads.

Test results are here (free registration required). ®

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