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Virus Bulletin is widely regarded as "The Antivirus Industry "Bible", and its VB100% award is arguably the most sought-after trophy in the antivirus world ... but this name is somewhat misleading. Although winning a large number of VB100% awards is generally a good rule-of-thumb indicator of an antivirus program's performance, it would be very unwise to choose your program based upon this alone. An antivirus program does not have to detect 100% of all viruses to win the VB100% award, as its name suggests ... in fact, actual detection figures over the past four years show that some programs have been awarded the VB100% even though they failed to detect more than a thousand viruses in that particular test.

For example : NOD32 was the ONLY antivirus program which detected a genuine 100% of ALL viruses in ALL categories in the November 2000 Virus Bulletin test .. but NOD32 was not awarded the VB100% because it produced a false positive virus identification, and that's all it takes to be disqualified. Unfortunately for the average web surfer looking for comparative virus detection rate information, Virus Bulletin does not post the actual detection figures online ... these are published only in its printed magazine ... so it is impossible to learn by reading Virus Bulletin's website that Symantec's Norton AntiVirus missed 299 viruses and Computer Associates' VET missed 781 viruses in the November 2000 test, yet both programs won the VB100%.

"Sour grapes" because NOD32 didn't win the award ? Not even slightly! Sure, it would be nice to have an unbroken string of VB100% awards ... but everyone has to play by the same rules ... and even without November 2000, NOD32 shows more VB100% awards on Virus Bulletin's own website than any other antivirus program in the world!

I'm often asked why, in view of the fact that Virus Bulletin's website puts NOD32 in the lead, I complain about that website. The short answer is that it's down to my "No Snake Oil" way of doing business. The limited VB100% information provided on Virus Bulletin's website is extremely misleading when it comes down to the actual detection of anything except "in the wild" viruses. Even though NOD32 has not missed a single "in the wild" virus since its first VB100% test in May 1998 and has more VB100% awards than any other antivirus program, it could easily have won those awards while missing hundreds of "other" viruses in every test. It didn't ... the actual overall detection figures put NOD32 way out in front ... but you'd never learn that by reading Virus Bulletin's website ... and "win" or "lose", I feel that the honest way of doing business is to let people know exactly where the antivirus programs they're considering ... mine and everyone else's ... stand on the detection scale.

For the past couple of years, users of our websites have been able to read unedited VB100% comparative detection figures based on charts created by Igor Hak, but it now appears that Virus Bulletin's hardline policy is "If you want the virus detection figures then you will have to subscribe to the printed magazine." ( Click here for subscription information ) Thanks to copyright infringement warnings from Virus Bulletin, VB100% comparative detection figures are no longer available either here or on Igor's website.