Monday, 4 May 2015

How To Check If Antivirus Is Working

Internet threats are always there. They evolve through time and get more sophisticated each day. Thanks to the coders of internet securities that these threats are contained or at least controlled to further do more damage. We know what antivirus is and what it does, but how do we know if it is doing it's job properly or not? How can we test them?

EICAR Anti-VIrus Test File.

The European Expert Group for IT-Security (EICAR) has produced a test file that anti-virus products react to as a real virus, although it is not real and not harmful. It consists of 68 characters, all in upper cases.


Here's two ways to do it.

1. Create and scan EICAR virus.

This test shows how vigilant your antivirus to malicious files that could be downloaded as a bundle with other legitimate programs or  and installs itself.

Open up notepad(1), highlight(2) and copy(3) the 68 characters above then paste(4) it to notepad. Click file and save it as EICAR.exe(5).

Once saved on the desktop(6), restart you computer and your anti-virus should detect this as a threat(7). This means your anti-virus is protecting you. If it does not then re-install your antivirus or download another one.

2. Download, unzip and run EICAR virus file

The browser should be the first line of defense against internet threats, as it is the portal for the outside world of getting into the computer. Therefore, a secure browser should already be giving the red signal on not to proceed when it encounters this as a downloadable link.

Here's how to do it.

Open your favourite browser and click the link below.

Your browser should already be flagging this download.I tested it on Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari for Windows(I used Windows 7 during the test), and Vivaldi.

The result was Chrome, Firefox and Vivaldi blocked this file, although you need to see the download folder for firefox to know that it is blocked.

On the other hand Internet Explorer , Opera and the un updated Safari for Windows proceeded with the download.

With the 3 browsers failing to stop the download of a "malicious" file, it is now up to the anti-virus to give your computer a protection when running the downloaded file.

Go to the downloaded file and click on it to unzip it. If you do not have a zip file archiever download winrar at

Click (8)on the program(.com extension) to run it, and a working  anti-virus (9)should not let this happen!

Last Words.

Sometimes, like all softwares, antivirus could become temperamental that it needs to be re-installed and tested in order to be sure that it is giving us the most security we need from internet threats. Not to mention that it also needs updating to the latest version and data base definitions. The same with browsers, whatever we choose to use, we need to make sure they are the latest versions.

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