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The WildList, a list of viruses currently at large which plays an important role in testing antivirus software, has been suspended indefinitely.

In a message to the antivirus community, Shane Coursen, chief executive of the WildList Organization (which compiles the list), said that March, 2002 WildList will be the last "until further notice". Coursen is seeking a full-time position as an antivirus researcher.

Separate mechanisms (both formal and informal) exist within the antivirus community to exchange virus sample, which are needed to update software to cope with the latest threat. However the suspension of the WildList still has important implications.

In recent years, the WildList list has been used by anti-virus product testers and industry groups such as the definitive guide to the viruses found in the real world. An anti-virus product is expected to score 100 percent detection against this group of viruses.

The list is compiled from viruses reported in the wild by 69 virus information professionals. The basis for these reports are virus incidents where a sample was received, and positively identified by the participant.

Mikko Hyppönen, Anti-Virus Research Manager at F-Secure, and a participant to the WildList, said the value of the list is that researchers could be sure "if a virus is not on the list - it's not a real world threat".

WildList is sometimes used as a reference by end-users and integrators in configuring systems that are likely to prevent companies getting hit by the latest virus threats, he added. Such tweaking can occur when, for one reason or another, a company is unable to apply default settings within its security and antivirus set-up, Hyppönen explained. ®

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