Study says free software dominates antivirus market

According to a study by OPSWAT, free antivirus software is most popular amongst users. OPSWAT retrieved their data from Windows users who use some of their applications; AppRemover, an application designed to uninstall security applications and Am I Oesis OK? which detects whether security applications are compatible with other applications that a user may be running. They said that rather than building the reports based on vendor reported sales and download figures, "...we are able to present the following report based purely on the detection of the applications that tens of thousands of users actually have installed on their endpoints."

Free antivirus products took the top four spots in the in the study with avast! Free Antivirus in the top spot followed by Avira AntiVir  Personal, AVG Antivirus Free and Microsoft Security Essentials. "42% of the product market is controlled by free products, while vendors that primarily offer a free product have a 48% market share. It would appear that end users have as much faith in the ability of free antivirus applications to keep them secure as they do paid antivirus." The two names that used to dominate the antivirus market, Symantec (Norton) and McAfee, are starting to lose their grasp to their free competitors.

Another interesting fact stated in the report is that 52% of antivirus vendors, AVAST, Avira, AVG, ESET, Panda, BitDefender, G Data and Sophos, are based in Europe while 31%, Symantec, Microsoft, McAfee, PC Tools and Sunbelt, are based in the US. 

Antivirus market share

Image source: OPSWAT

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ah. free antivirus ... to kill free viruses. thus completing the circle of life.

makes one wonder ... doesn't it?

Tha Bloo Monkee said,
Why pay when there are free alternatives that do the job?

Because they don't. You always get what you payed for. No payment means less security. Free Anti-virus relays on payed versions. No money from payed versions = no investment in free versions.

That's how most of their business models work: offer a free version with the option of upgrading to a "professional" one.
I've never had an issue with Avira or AVG; they find and remove viruses. That's all I want.

+1 to MSE.

Being usign it since Beta, to me atleast it dosent have a big impact on resources but i have 8gb of ram so i dont really notice it.

The chart has avast! Antivirus, avast! Antivirus Professional, and avast! Free Antivirus. If Professional is pay and Free is free, then what does "avast! Antivirus" include?

First of all, the previous AVG 8.5 is indeed slow but the new 9.0 is at par with Avira and Avast.
As for MSE, no it's not that light after all like what people "say" but it's not the slowest, so some of you using MSE may say that it's light. You may not notice that few seconds or milliseconds difference but if you accumulate the time after a year or two, it is going to add up to a lot.

Judging an antivirus performance through memory usage itself is also inaccurate because many antivirus are able to "clean" its memory reducing to a very low number.

No, the test setup doesn't represent real world conditions. Windows is sophisticated and it runs stuff in background without your knowledge (view the task manager for 10 minutes and you'll know and if you're the elite kind, use process monitor and it tells you even more!). I disabled what is necessary so that it doesn't interfere with the benchmark numbers. Facts and numbers don't lie.

End of the day, you are free to use what antivirus you are most comfortable with and no one can force you to switch to another antivirus.

The results are only from people who use their software - well that is about statistically relevant as asking men what type of tampon they prefer !
This story is probably not worth the internet electricity it consumes to print it.

I loved Avira from the first time and never looked back!
The only thing that bothers me is the ANNOYING ads popping up everytime I switch on my pc..

ozyborn said,
3.26% were dumb enough to use McAfee???? Poor souls

3.26% are still using the AV that came with their PC. And it's probably years out of date.

I installed MSE on my parents' laptops and it's been doing its job flawlessly for over a year now. No noticeable slow down as far as they are concerned.

Personally I think free antivirus suites are enough. Paid suites are a bit overkill and taxing on the system - they have link scanners, email scanners, firewalls, phishing detectors...

I used to use KIS because it has global adblocking build in. So no matter what browser you use, ads are blocked. It's anti virus was also solid. But since MSE came out, I use it primarily because it's dead simple and out performe all other freeware and even most payware.

I'm not surprised. Free anti-virus has always been there or there abouts when tested against paid for. However now we are at a stage where free is on par with paid and there is really no point paying, unless you are a business.

Given the quite comprehensive list of names on the chart, I'm quite intrigued what the exactly what the 'others' are and how people found them! All the names I can think of are on the list already...

Can anyone think of anything not listed??

hektik said,
Can anyone think of anything not listed??

Rising AntiVirus, Dr.Web, AhnLab V3, BullGuard Internet Security, Vba32, F-Prot, TrustPort Antivirus, Norman Antivirus & Antispyware

CLAM isn't on the list though I guess it's under others, quite suprising as it's one of the dominating anti-virus solutions for mail servers around the globe, and is open source/free !

MSE is a system hog. It likes to scan all file types (mostly safe ones!) for no reason, and can really kill system performance if you routinely move around thousands of files.
Avast! for the win. I've been using it for like 6 years or something now.

Avira is the best if you ask me out of the free stuff which is what i been using for a while now.

Avast and AVG seem to be a tad bit of a resource hog at times (Avast seems to tax the system to much when doing basic stuff at times the last i checked). Avira never really seems to act up as you generally don't even know it's running

p.s. if Avira ever got bad i would most likely try MSE because of the general word in these forums seem to be quite positive.

somethingelse said,
None of these will install on Windows Server 2008 R2

That's because free versions are usually for non-commercial home use. That generally excludes servers. The paid versions of most free AVs will work on a server OS.

HeretikSaint said,
I use a free, cloud Anti-virus called Panda. It's a nice little anti-virus that is very low on resources.

I use Panda USB Vaccine with MSE and Secunia PSI (keeps track of installed software and plugins).

People like free stuff -- it's really isn't rocket science. Just because it's free, it does not mean that AV software is better (or worse) than paid-for products. Downloading trial versions of paid-for products and scrupulously evaluating them is a lot of work and most people probably don't want to do that. Free software's expectations are also inherently lower than paid-for, so when it does a pretty good job people are over the moon. Paid-for AVs may do a slightly better job, but a lot of people prefer to settle for slightly less when they don't have to pay for it.

The problem with charts like this is that the Malware writers make sure that their program does not get picked up by the biggest user base products first.
AV`s are allways playing catch up at the moment

Riggers said,
The problem with charts like this is that the Malware writers make sure that their program does not get picked up by the biggest user base products first.
AV`s are allways playing catch up at the moment

That is why I stay with Comodo's HIPS. Some alerts, yes, but at least I know what is happening.

I think people just got fed up with the year after their new PC purchase and having to renew their McAfee or Norton subscription. AVG kickstarted this a few years and now with top quality alternatives like Avast, Avira and MBAM there's just no reason to have to pay to keep your PC secure.

protocol7 said,
I think people just got fed up with the year after their new PC purchase and having to renew their McAfee or Norton subscription.

More like 30 to 90 days after.

Microsoft Security Essentials..i use it on all the Dell Presicion T3500 I send to our customers at work. Its light it's fast and unintrusive.

0--JLowzrif said,

Ignorance is a bliss eh?.....Get your fact straight pal, MSE is NOT light!

http://www.raymond.cc/antivirus/

Just another myth debunked


No, it is light.. AVG which is number 2 on the list has been a pig on every system I've used it on for the last year or so.. And McAfee before MSE.. lol.

Either the results are wrong, or the "test setup" doesn't represent real world conditions ( which it doesn't, I can tell by all the stuff they disabled .

Ryoken said,

No, it is light.. AVG which is number 2 on the list has been a pig on every system I've used it on for the last year or so.. And McAfee before MSE.. lol.

Either the results are wrong, or the "test setup" doesn't represent real world conditions ( which it doesn't, I can tell by all the stuff they disabled .

No it isn't light ...and please read the baseline creation to see why the "Stuff" are disabled. you simple sprewing BS that is wrong but in reality you have no facts to prove otherwise, the specific test is one of the most accurate out there.

I'm waiting for YOUR "right" benchmarks now

0--JLowzrif said,
Ignorance is a bliss eh?.....Get your fact straight pal, MSE is NOT light!

http://www.raymond.cc/antivirus/

Just another myth debunked

That page doesn't debunk ANY anti-virus, not even MSE at all.

Thanks for Googling though. I know it's exciting to debunk myths, but be sure to actually read the page before citing it, k?

thenonhacker said,

That page doesn't debunk ANY anti-virus, not even MSE at all.

Thanks for Googling though. I know it's exciting to debunk myths, but be sure to actually read the page before citing it, k?

I have read the page very very carefully and i repeat MSE is NOT light

K???

0--JLowzrif said,

I have read the page very very carefully and i repeat MSE is NOT light

K???

Light or not, it works and works well. Sure it takes up about 60MB of memory on my box, but then again, firefox and chrome regularly go over 200 MB, so I can't really complain.

joshua.barker said,

Light or not, it works and works well. Sure it takes up about 60MB of memory on my box, but then again, firefox and chrome regularly go over 200 MB, so I can't really complain.

in some of those tests MSE did have a pretty large impact, and avast/avira/avg seem to always remain pretty low impact wise

MSE's detectiont hough i think is still top notch and after Avast's issue while back where they released an update that flagged everything as a virus..im not sure i wanna risk that again

tiagosilva29 said,
Free Software?

Free in terms of you don't pay for it. Software doesn't have to be open sourced to meet the classification of free.

Subject Delta said,
Free in terms of you don't pay for it. Software doesn't have to be open sourced to meet the classification of free.

Then it is Gratis Software.

Soldiers33 said,
wow mse has gone quite high although its not been out for so long. Microsoft is doing great products recently.

would you guys care to explain what makes MSE so great?
I'd love to see if my avg can be outperformed in both security and memory usage.

Mouettus said,

would you guys care to explain what makes MSE so great?
I'd love to see if my avg can be outperformed in both security and memory usage.

It's made by MS. The average users sees the MS logo and clicks install. End of story.

Conjor said,

It's made by MS. The average users sees the MS logo and clicks install. End of story.

not at all. it easily out performs avg. its small, light, unobtrusive and effective, everything an antivirus program should be.

Mouettus said,

would you guys care to explain what makes MSE so great?
I'd love to see if my avg can be outperformed in both security and memory usage.

Comparing AVG to most any antivirus isn't very hard due to how bad it performs. I used to use AVG free and pro, and it failed to detect and remove many virii, worms, trojans, etc. I switched to symantec, kaspersky, and even Nod32 and found the same results. Whenever they actually could find something, they couldn't get rid of it. If you read any of the online reviews or comparisons, AVG is well known for missing items and for false positives.

When MSE came out in Alpha, I switched to it and never looked back. Its gotten better since public release and I've only had one incident where it couldn't remove a problem. Even on that incident, it told me what it was and where it was. Until microsoft gets hit with court orders on not producing an Antivirus, it will continue to rise and soon dominate the antivirus market.

Mouettus said,

would you guys care to explain what makes MSE so great?
I'd love to see if my avg can be outperformed in both security and memory usage.

Man, AVG is crap compared to Avira, MSE, and Avast. I've seen compromised systems with AVG deactivated by the malware. AVG has crap UI, too.

thenonhacker said,

Man, AVG is crap compared to Avira, MSE, and Avast. I've seen compromised systems with AVG deactivated by the malware. AVG has crap UI, too.

youll find ppl stick with AVG cause 'its never failed them'...ie they dont even know theyre infected. Most people i recommend a switch to run a full scan after removing avg, and they find multiple infections that it always missed.

MSE is simply the best no hassle free AV. Avira/Avast has registration and UI issues. AVG is a bloated mess. Neither provide a simple fire and forget installation process that is easy to recommend to end users.

I'm not concerned if its detection rate might be slightly below some of the others as its profile and UI consistancy is more than worth it.

Most of the infected PCs I've since were running AVG.

I'd recommend MSE to people who don't know much about computers. But Comodo's great firewall and HIPS are for those who want control over their system.

If you're using AVG, you should take this hint and switch to Avast or something. AVG is bad. Go look up some tests and you'll see.

Mouettus said,

would you guys care to explain what makes MSE so great?
I'd love to see if my avg can be outperformed in both security and memory usage.

AVG has to be about the second from bottom as far as being even remotely close to good!!

Avira for me!!

Conjor said,

It's made by MS. The average users sees the MS logo and clicks install. End of story.

fail.

I dont use AVs but i install MSE on all my installs and builds.

cork1958 said,

AVG has to be about the second from bottom as far as being even remotely close to good!!

Avira for me!!

Yep, AVG is all my competitor in town installs on people's pc's. Personally I'll start with MSE, and if that particular PC isn't suffering or being effected by high CPU issue I see with MSE then it stays. Other wise i'll uninstall it and install avast. Avira is a no go because of the big advertisement. Yes I know you can disable it, but I would never do that. Because the next time they do a software update to Avira I would get 100's of calls from people telling me they are infected because of a GIANT Avira ad is appearing on their screen.

Yep, and why use free software when you can buy a Kaspersky licence for less than £2 a year (I've bought 20 licences for friends & family now).

Exosphere said,
Yep, and why use free software when you can buy a Kaspersky licence for less than £2 a year (I've bought 20 licences for friends & family now).

Really, how?