Does your anti-virus product really work?

Odds are you installed an anti-virus product on your PC or mobile device to protect you from viruses and the like… but, does it work? Or is it providing you a false sense of security?

Here’s how to safely test your antivirus program, and a little background about the process.

The EICAR Standard Anti-Virus Test File is a non-destructive test file that was developed for this purpose: To safely test anti-virus programs for proper operation, without having to actually expose the system to a destructive program. All anti-virus programs should detect to, and respond to, EICAR as a virus. However, is it not malicious.

So how to test?

DOS/Windows (32 bit only) users:

You can download the EICAR test file directly from EICAR here and run it. Your anti-virus should immediately react. If you have trouble deleting the test file because your anti-virus program is blocking access to it, temporarily disable your antivirus program, then delete the file. Don’t forget to reactivate your program after. You can only run the .com file on non-64-bit systems due to the 16-bit limitation.
64-bit: Download the file as above. Since you cannot run it, you won’t be able to test your real-time protection. However, your anti-virus product should still detect it if you do a manual scan. If it does not, it may be because the 16-bit code doesn’t apply and won’t run anyway. So a failure to detect EICAR on 64-bit Windows may not indicate lack of protection.


Yes, there’s malware on Android. Yes, there’s anti-virus and anti-malware programs for Android. Yes, if you’re running one you should test it. Search Market for ‘EICAR’ and download EICAR Anti-Virus Test, or use this Market link.