Wednesday, September 29, 2010

what is anti-malware testing

anti-malware testing is a means by which a qualified organization measures various properties of anti-malware software, such as speed, memory footprint, malware prevention effectiveness, or even malware removal effectiveness.

in theory, anti-malware testing should be straight-forward. we want the test results to tell us what we would experience if we used the anti-malware ourselves in the real world in order that we can make better decisions about what product to use, so it stands to reason that a test should simulate real world usage. in practice such simulation can actually be very difficult and a variety of shortcuts have been introduced over the years to make anti-malware testing more practical.

unfortunately, as we have found out, even small deviations from the real world can often have a big impact on the actual meaning of the test results such that they can't actually be interpreted the way we intended. one of the challenges that the community faces is understanding how these shortcuts affect the meaning of the results, determining if the new meaning is still useful in some way, and developing new testing methodologies that have fewer and/or less impactful shortcuts so that the tests can come ever closer to approaching the ideal state where their results will actually have the meaning we intend for them to have.

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