Consumer Reports hired a firm to create more than 5,000 variants of existing viruses. Their reasoning: They wanted to see how well anti-virus software reacts to new threats. As expected, the move created quite a stir.
McAfee’s Igor Muttik:
“Creating new viruses for the purpose of testing and education is generally not considered a good idea.”
Consumer Union’s (Consumer Reports) Evan Beckford:
“We need to anticipate how antivirus software will react to future threats. This is the only way we know to do it. We think the benefits far outweigh the risks.”
SANS Institute’s Alan Paller:
“[The test was] extremely valuable because a great weakness of most leading antivirus tools is that they are slow in detecting new viruses”
Read Consumer Reports’ report on how the tests were conducted here.
So, what do you think? Is creating thousands of new virus variants a dumb idea, kind of like ramming your car into a tree to see if the airbag works? or was this the only way that anti-virus software can be tested against future threats?