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Anti-Virus Testing Workshop
15 May 11:54

FRISK Software, the producer of F-PROT Antivirus, is hosting the worlds first Antivirus Testing workshop in Reykjavik 15th-16th May.

Over 60 computer antivirus experts, from companies such as Symantec, ESET, Bitdefender, Kaspersky and AV-Test GmbH, will come to discuss antivirus software testing. The purpose of the workshop is to teach and discuss improved and more accurate testing methods for antivirus software.

Antivirus and computer security experts Michael St. Neitzel and Vesselin Bontchev will represent FRISK Software during the conference. They have both been working in the computer security field since 1989 and have presented at numerous other antivirus and security conferences.

The current situation is that anyone who owns a handful of malware thinks hes a qualified antivirus tester, said Michael St. Neitzel, technical spokesman for FRISK Software. This results in a lot of confusion, especially with end users who dont know which test they can trust and why. Finding the perfect antivirus solution for home users is something like the search for the holy grail. Other antivirus companies agree with this, hence the Antivirus Testing Workshop.

[We certainly agree with the last statement, a point of view we have consistently promoted throughout the existence of ISB and even before. In 1992 or 1993 we conducted considerable research into this subject by checking the quality of published anti-virus product reviews based on the full CARO virus library of the time. The research showed most published anti-virus tests to be inadequate and plagued by systemic mistakes such as being based on inadequately researched and incomplete virus test sets. (Some of the research results were published in the CSE Newsletter About Computer Security, ISB's precursor - most were never published. The research was carried out by Righard Zwienenberg and your editor).

While conducting this research we realised that even given our background in anti-virus development and virus research we would not be able to produce credible product reviews, which is why the series of product reviews published over the years in ISB were all based on research from the virus Test Centre at Hamburg University, only supplemented by in-house research. When the VTC stopped producing this research ISB stopped publishing this type of results.

Since we conducted our research into the difficulties of reviewing anti-malware products the situation has only gotten worse, and it is still safer than ever to say what we have often stated, that

  • there is not necessarily any correlation between the price and the quality of an anti-virus product
  • product selection cannot be based on product reviews published in periodicals
  • neither the corporate nor the private sector can make informed in-house generated decisions about this subject (although most think they can and do) and
  • after purchasing and installing anti-malware products customers cannot systematically check or discover whether or not their protection is effective.

Hence, our advice is, and always has been, to run at least two products in parallel, at least on exposed and/or high-value systems, and making sure they use different detection engines and signature information from different suppliers.

That Frisk and Vas have decided to run this workshop is very laudable. They are excellent people, so if you are responsible for running and selecting anti-malware systems try to get to the event. --Ed].

Related links: (Open in a new window.)
External link www.f-prot.com/workshop2007/

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