Thursday, August 17, 2006

The difference between bad and good!

An organization called ConsumerReports published an article yesterday that suggests it 'created 5,500 new virus variants derived from six categories of known viruses, the kind you'd most likely encounter in real life.' This is a really unbelievable and completely unethical. There are plenty of 'real' viruses, worms and Trojans around without well-meaning organizations generating more of them, for whatever reason. The premise on which ConsumerReports seems to have based its actions on is this: "We hadn't seen any independent evaluation of antivirus software that measured how well products battle both known and new viruses, so we set out to fill that gap.” In fact, AV-comparatives publishes tests evaluating products' ability to find both known and unknown threats ... and they do this without having to create new viruses. There are also a number of other independent organizations that test the detection capabilities of antivirus products, including AV-Test GmbH, Virus Bulletin, ICSA Labs and West Coast Labs. And they all can do better tests without the creation of real viruses. Creating new viruses for the purpose of testing and education is generally not considered a good idea - viruses can leak and cause real trouble (you can read an open letter on the AVIEN site about that which I also signed years ago). People just don't know the difference between good and bad anymore!