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Antivirus Software Testing for the New Millenium

Sarah Gordon, Howard Fraser

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The nature of technology is changing rapidly; likewise, the nature of viral threats to the data dependent upon the technology is evolving. Thus, the technologies we rely upon to provide protection from these threats must adapt. In the last twelve months, several anti-virus software vendors have announced exciting new technologies which claim to provide “faster, better, cheaper” response to computer virus incidents within organizations. However, there is currently little guidance regarding the best way to evaluate the efficacy of such claims. Faster than what? Better than what? Less costly compared to what? Clearly, there can only be one technology which is “faster, better, most cost efficient" than all of the others, yet if the advertising claims are to be believed, all products are not merely created equal, they are all created superlative!

In this paper, the requirements for these next generation anti-virus systems will be examined. There will be a discussion of reviewing strategies that can help to determine to what extent those requirements have been met. To this end, the problem will be approached from a functional perspective, not gearing the test design to particular implementations. In this way, an array of tests will be created which are not vendor or product specific, but which can and should be employed industry-wide.

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