Sophos’s reactive and proactive detection tested, wins VB100 award

The chaps at Virus Bulletin magazine have just published details of their latest comparative test.

Okay, lets get the basic stuff out of the way first. The test was on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 platform and Sophos successfully detected all the in-the-wild viruses without false alarming – earning itself a coveted VB100 award (the 45th that Sophos has received).

Huzzah! Well done to the chaps in our labs and development for that, but what’s most interesting I think is that this is the first time that Virus Bulletin has introduced a new testing format to its bi-monthly comparative reviews.

Called RAP (“Reactive and Proactive”) testing, the idea is that readers should get a better idea of the capabilities of security software, specifically how products perform against the most recent malware that has emerged around the world.

However, as its name suggests RAP goes beyond reactive testing and also puts heuristic and generic technology to the test by pitting products against new malware that appeared in the week after vendors submitted their products for the test.

In other words, the proactive test attempts to demonstrate how well security vendors can protect against malware that had not been seen by their labs at the time of product submission.

You can read more details of RAP testing in this article in the February 2009 edition of Virus Bulletin. (Free registration required).

Reactive and proactive tests like this are important – as they show how well your security product can handle the most recent malware attacks. Over time they should build up to give a good impression of which vendors are doing the best job at defending businesses against malware.

The RAP results currently sit alongside the traditional VB100 tests, and don’t affect Virus Bulletin’s determination of whether a product has earned the VB100 award or not.

You can read the full results from Virus Bulletin, and find out which products performed well and which struggled, via this link. (Again, free registration required)