Feeds

Win 2000 anti-virus products fail independent tests

Polymorphic virus fools mediocre security packages

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Many big-name anti-virus products failed to secure Windows 2000 in recent independent tests.

Seventeen out of 32 products tested - including packages from Trend Micro, Kaspersky, Norman and Sophos - failed to reach the standard required for VB100 certification. A total of 13 products failed to spot threats known to be circulating. False alarms on known clean files also came up as a problem during the testing, which was run by Virus Bulletin, the independent security certification body.

To earn VB100 certification, products must be able to detect all of the viruses contained in the WildList test set (a list of malware known to be in circulation) without generating any false alarms when scanning clean files.

It's a tough challenge but normally only a handful of submitted products fail VB100 certification. The latest round of testing produced the worst results in years.

The main cause of the string of failures was a particularly nasty polymorphic virus, a form of malware with self-modifying program code specifically designed to defeat anti-virus packages.

"Polymorphic malware went out of fashion for some time but has recently become popular with malware writers once more, both in self-morphing viruses and in Trojans morphed at the server side before delivery," explained John Hawes, technical consultant at Virus Bulletin (VB).

Detecting morphing malware may be tricky, but it's an insufficient excuse for the poor results in the tests. VB called on the industry to "pull up its socks". "It was a shock and a concern to see such a poor performance from so many products in this latest round of testing. It is particularly disappointing to see so many major products missing significant real-world threats," Hawes added. "In these days of hourly updates computer users really ought to be able to rely on their chosen security vendors for full protection against known threats."

Unlike other certification schemes, Virus Bulletin tests all products free of charge and does not allow re-testing - performances are reported exactly as they are found. Security vendors volunteer their products for testing. Virus Bulletin's comparative reviews also cover other performance aspects including detection rates against a selection of zoo viruses, scanning speeds and performance overheads.

The results of the VB100 certification of products for Windows 2000 can be found here (free registration required).

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to download a copy of Ubuntu Linux. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Tor attack nodes RIPPED MASKS off users for 6 MONTHS
Traffic confirmation attack bared users' privates - but to whom?
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.