When security programs are wrong…

By | October 1, 2011
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Bob’s antivirus program gave us a bad rating
My anti-Virus gave you a very bad rating. I will try to correct that rating with them. Maybe you should do the same. Trend Micro Titanium is the ant-virus. Love you guys. You’ve been only helpful to me. Bob

Our answer
Thanks for your nice comments, Bob.

We’re not sure if you’re saying Trend Micro said our files were infected – or if they’ve succumbed to the “site-rating” craze now run amok.

If your antivirus found virus in our files then that’s a false positive. Any antivirus that returns false positives is not working right. If it happens often, then your antivirus isn’t doing what it should. It’s flawed and needs to be replaced. The fact that you’re paying for an antivirus doesn’t mean it’s better than the free antivirus programs available. This is a great misconception when stems from people’s real-life experiences where it’s generally true that the more you pay for something, the better it is. It’s not so in the world of antivirus programs though. In fact Microsoft Security Essentials, and other free antivirus programs are rated higher than Trend Micro – as well as many other commercial antivirus programs and suites. So if Trend Micro reports there are viruses in our files, it’s a false positive that indicates your antivirus is not working right – and may not be protecting your computer as it should.

You can use a site called Virus Total to check any file for viruses. If Trend Micro continues to report false positives – go to www.virustotal.com and check the file. You’ll find out for sure if a file is infected or not. We assure you that none of our files are infected – and none will ever be.

If Trend Micro has added a “site-rating” feature (and we don’t know if they have), what can we say? Site Rating programs are basically worthless – especially those, like WOT, which base their rating on the opinions of a few miscreants armed with automated rating tools. As with WOT the ratings can be swayed by a handful of people who rate hundreds of thousands of sites they’ve never visited and services they’ve never used. They do this by using bots – or mass-rating tools.

And we question the following statements Trend Micro’s Titanium Web site:

Fast, effective, easy-to-use security that protects every aspect of your digital life—your data, devices, privacy, family, even social networks.

Set-and-forget security — Titanium won’t hassle you with alerts and pop-ups SO apparently that is not true since it flagged us as bad

Protects against malware, spyware, spam, and other threats that allow cybercriminals to steal your private information like passwords, credit card numbers, or even your home address

There a software program is going to stop you from using weak passwords. Trend Micro is not being forthright. They can’t protect anyone from giving their information away – and cybercriminals don’t break into users’ PC’s to steal information. They trick users into giving away their information. We absolutely hate it when marketing gurus border on prevarication in their advertising spiel trying to sell the customer what amounts to nothing but snake oil. We wouldn’t give a dime for a program that promises things it can’t possibly deliver.

I guess the most important thing to remember is that common sense trumps software every single time.

Here’s a little more about false positives from one our “Back to Basics” articles”

What is a false positive?

The term “false positives” is an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp and icy hot. Additionally, a false positive is when your anti-virus or anti-spyware identifies a non-malicious file as a malicious one. Every anti-spyware or anti-virus program, no matter how good, will occasionally display false positives. However, if your anti-virus or anti-spyware program continually reports false-positives it is an indication that it is not working correctly. If you continually have problems with false positives in your security software you need to consider other options. Because continuous reporting of false positives can also indicate that the software you’ve installed to protect you might not be protecting as well as it should.

Users should report false-positives to the software manufacturer as soon as they are noticed. This helps the developer correct the errors in the program quickly.

We hope this helps you, Bob. If you continue to get false positives from Trend Micro, you should look into using a different antivirus. Too many false positives mean your antivirus isn’t working correctly and could me you’re leaving yourself open to problems.

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