Feeds

Is AV product testing corrupt?

Who can you trust?

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Let's take this one step further, let's say that I put in a cancer sample that isn't even a cancer. It's a benign form of a cell structure. In the previous analogy then I could be told I have cancer when in fact I don't. I could be forced to undergo surgery just because of a faulty detection.

Now, one step even further. Now I submit a "cancer" sample that is ONLY detected by my drug company. The implications become quite obvious in this analogy. Why aren't they obvious to the users of today's anti-virus products? Because there are only a couple of companies out there that are in the business to "sell" their "so called" unbiased review of the antivirus products on the market.

In a major industry publication, the following was quoted from one of these "anti-virus reviewers", they indicated, "by his own admissions [he] does not verify that everything submitted to his list is in fact malware." Taking "just" that fact alone with nothing else, should lead any person to question the tests as a good measure of an anti-virus product's effectiveness in preventing a computer infection.

If this whole comparison testing wasn't complicated enough, then let's add to it the changes in the anti-malware industry that are adding new features and functionality to the products. Some of the anti-virus companies have added anti-spyware capabilities, some anti-spyware companies have added anti-virus scanning to their products, and some "security suites" are including other kinds of security protection including firewall and even host-based intrusion prevention.

Are any of these blocking techniques included in the evaluation or detection comparisons? No. Isn't it more important how secure the product keeps the user rather then just simply how many samples from a tainted, untested, unvalidated, out-of-date and highly dubious boxed set are detected?

The public is getting a VERY corrupt and biased view that doesn't relate even remotely to the real world level of malware protection. This type of testing is very biased and yet the public is generally unaware of the faith that they place in several magazines that are promoting the results of these fly-by-night companies with lack of industry standard credentials.

In the end, the computer user doesn't really care about the rate of detection or the features, they just want their computer to be protected as best as they can possibly make it with administration that's as easy as possible. My computer hasn't had a malware infection in YEARS and according to the latest "review" in a major magazine, my product was in the bottom half. Hmmm, kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it?

The anti-malware industry needs a "gold standard" to guide the development of a fair and truly unbiased measure of the product's effectiveness. This gold standard needs to be untainted by graft, ignorance and pseudo-science. The public deserves it. The industry should pull together to force it. Until then, place your trust with anti-malware companies with a proven history of performance... or, just hope you don't get hit using one of the reviewer's "best" anti-virus products.

Copyright © 2007, IT-Analysis.com

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.