What your antivirus software doesn’t tell you, and how to get that data

Antivirus software detects and removes malware, but how fast and how accurate? Here's no-cost way to find out and hold antivirus vendors accountable.

Since the beginning, antivirus software vendors have lied about their accuracy. Many claim 100 percent accuracy in detecting bad programs and we, despite nearly every computer being protected by an antivirus program, are still exploited by malware.

Submit any malware program to Google’s VirusTotal and get it scanned by 67 to 70 antivirus programs. Never have I seen the early hit rate better than maybe a third. The most popular antivirus engines often miss a submitted sample for days. The antivirus vendors won’t even let VirusTotal share the accuracy stats of individual engines.

Antivirus vendors and independent interests have tried to develop their own list of ethical testing methodology steps. Even those attempts have been accused of tainted measurements. Those who get a 100 percent detection result tout it in their advertising, and those who don’t point out flaws in a particular test’s methodology. None are 100 percent accurate no matter what test is done.

So, how can we determine an antivirus product’s real accuracy? I know a way.

The importance of malware dwell time

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