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Which security product stops the most zero-day virus threats?

When new viruses, worms and other malicious attacks strike, traditional signature-based technology is insufficient. Every minute you wait for an update is another minute that your computer and network are vulnerable to damage, infection, or identity theft. ThreatSense® Heuristics closes the window of vulnerability by safely identifying and stopping malware as it runs on your computer.

NOD32 has consistently been rated as the best protection against zero-day outbreaks and attacks by the world's leading antivirus testing organisations.

  • is an Austrian research lab that performs retrospective tests.
  • produces a newsletter listing vendors that detect outbreaks as they occur.
  • is a joint-research project of the University Magdeburg and AV-Test GmbH.

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The independent testing institution is an antivirus research project coordinated by Andreas Clementi with the support of the Innsbrucker Kompetenzzentrum / Computernotdienst.

The "Retrospective/Proactive Test" compared 11 different antivirus products' abilities to proactively identify the increasing complexity and zero-day nature of today's threats. The stringent testing used recent In-the-Wild samples and a variety of other malware, Trojans, viruses and worms affecting Windows and other operating systems. To effectively test the products for proactive detection, the organization used new malware samples, and tested them against the products without updating the antivirus signature.

NOD32 Detection and Performance

The November study revealed that of the eight new viruses that have been released In-the-Wild in the preceding three months, customers of Symantec, Trend Micro and Kaspersky had proactive detection for none of these threats, leaving them at risk until the vendors could provide a signature update. McAfee customers were only protected from a single virus without updating.

ESET's NOD32 customers were protected four times more often against new viruses, and 95% more often across all new samples used in the test, including In-the-Wild threats, backdoors, Trojans and other malware.

This is the second study conducted by on this topic in 2005. Over the course of both studies, NOD32 proactively detected 50 out of 59 In-the-Wild samples used, or 85%. More details can be found at

The graph shows the accuracy of heuristic-based detection and the performance of several antivirus vendors' products. The data is derived by determining whether or not a given antivirus product detects a new virus without requiring a signature update. If it does, then heuristic detection has succeeded (note: in some cases, well-written signatures can detect future variants).

AV-Test is a joint-research project of the University Magdeburg and AV-Test GmbH. The Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg is located in Germany and has over 13,500 students. The tests are conducted in the research labs at the Workgroup Business Information Systems at the Institute of Technical and Business Information systems.

Currently, the virus test lab has two professors and approximately fifteen students working regularly on virus replication, analysis and tests of antivirus products. AV-Test GmbH is a security consultancy company with a special focus on computer virus incidents.

NOD32 Heuristic Detection and Performance

Source: Test performed for c't Magazine, "Die Leibwächter: 17 Virenscanner für Windows XP und Vista"
by Dirk Knop (Issue 05/2007, pages 142-153), based on data of

NOD32's heuristics still remain undefeated. With one-month old signatures, the scanner found nearly 80% of the threats. Even the inexperienced users can modify the settings easily.

NOD32's fast scanning speed is a definite positive, finishing the tests quickly while keeping a good detection rate of Zoo viruses. Small size of update files, fast scanning speed and accurate detection make NOD32 an all-round winner in the leading group of antivirus programs.

This independent consulting firm based in Spain performs real-time analysis of malware outbreak detection across a wide range of antivirus vendors.

As you can see from the graph below, NOD32 has by far the highest detection rate, and the fastest performance (tested separately by Virusbulletin). In fact, NOD32 is on average, 2-10 times faster than the competition.

NOD 32 Detection and Performance

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