The top two antivirus products in use worldwide might surprise you.
Then again, they might not. Free products now dominate the AV market.
120,000 global points — a snapshot of AV use
OPSWAT, a computer-services company, recently released its quarterly antivirus-software market-share report, which — among other things — shows the current adoption rate for various AV products, both free and paid. In addition to information services, the company offers several free, personal-use applications, including a malware scanner, an application remover, and a Web-browsing anonymizer. The company claims a world-wide clientele.
To produce the report, OPSWAT analyzed data sent to it by its AppRemover software (more info) — a utility having one function: to completely remove an installed security app so you can cleanly install another one. (According to OPSWAT, AppRemover is widely installed on PC systems. If users opted in, the software compiled a list of apps installed on a system.) OPSWAT states that it collected over 120,000 data points between May 16, 2011, and May 15, 2012. The report compares market-share changes between two six-month periods, and it summarizes AV usage both worldwide and in North America.
The report is biased toward those who downloaded AppRemover and also selected that they wanted their data shared — admittedly a small group. Nevertheless, I think it’s a valid sampling of AV products in use today.
What’s more interesting is comparing OPSWAT’s conclusions with test results from two leading, independent AV-testing labs — AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. That analysis suggests that the most popular anti-malware app isn’t necessarily the most effective and that free almost always trumps paid.
And the AV market-share winner is …
As of May 2012, Avast Free Antiirus was the leading AV product worldwide, with a market share of 13.5 percent, according to OPSWAT. Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) followed closely with 13 percent. Market share then dropped to 8.3 percent for ESET NOD32 Antivirus, 7.5 percent for Avira Free Antivirus, and 6.8 percent for AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition.