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More AVG nonsense

AVG found a virus on my Vista system this morning:

I was puzzled at first: what is Scratch? Then I remembered: it’s an innovative visual programming language aimed at education. Virus, or false positive? I checked the file, which seemed unchanged since 2007, but of course these things can be deceptive. Still, why this file, and how had this virus arrived? I looked here; other Scratch users have had the same problem, and other anti-virus software does not detect any virus, so it seems that this is indeed a false positive.

Most anti-virus software is based on a broken concept, the idea that you can detect malware by comparing files against a “known-bad” list of signatures, and occasional false positives are inevitable. I’d like to see that possibility properly recognised in the UI that the a-v software presents.

Not good for AVG, following its ill-judged LinkScanner problems.

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3 thoughts on “More AVG nonsense”

  1. I think that AV software also looks for the presence of certain API calls that are “dangerous”, like those used in communication. A programming environment may call the system functions that convert a memory area from data to executable. Not that it’s less misguided, specially if the AV doesn’t offer specific information to help the user know the reasons of the alert.

  2. I had the same problem with Trend Internet Security Pro 2008 on my laptop. I run a Toshiba app called “ConfigFree” to manage my network settings. Trend kept alerting me to not only the system tray application, but a couple of DLLs and the screen saver demo as well. I guess heuristics can only tell us so much.

    While we’re on the subject of anti-virus mishaps, let’s continue with our friend Trend, who alerts me when my HOSTS file changes. Even after I’ve accepted the change as an entry required by my name virtual host setting on my web server. Eventually I just turned off HOSTS file checking, but that’s far from ideal.

  3. Hi,

    I have tried many antivirus softfare by now.
    Only one which satisfied me so far is Norton AntiVirus. It is not free (arround £40) but worth to buy.

    Greets
    Mariusz

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