Have you ever wondered if your anti-virus software is really working?Would you like to see what happens when it detects a virus? Here's a safe way to test your computer's virus protection that doesn't require you to have a real virus.
First, open Notepad. Then copy and paste into it the text on the line below. (It should all be on one line.)
Then select File, Save, select All Files for the file type, then save the file as eicar.com.
Your anti-virus software may prevent you from saving the file as eicar.com,which is a sign that it is working effectively. If it doesn't raise an alert, try scanning the folder where you saved eicar.com. To see what happens if you try to run a file containing a virus, double-click eicar.com to open it.
The file eicar.com you have created is completely safe. It is not a virus. It is a standard test file developed by the European Institute for Computer Anti-virus Research (EICAR). All anti-virus products are programmed to detect this file as if it was a real virus. Therefore you can safely use it to test whether your anti-virus software works, without fear of infecting your computer.
If your anti-virus product should fail to prevent you from running the file, it will simply display the text"EICAR-STANDARD-ANTI-VIRUS-TEST-FILE" in a DOS box. No harm will have been done, but you should probably consider using a better anti-virus product, because if it had been a real virus, your computer would by now be infected!
I use ZoneAlarm (by Checkpoint) which is usually very good but I had my doubts when it allowed me to save the file. The moment I clicked on it though, I got a Quarantined Virus box pop up and I see that the file has indeed been tagged as EICAR-Test-File so it looks like I am ok after all.
Apart from ZoneAlarm I also have a hardware firewall so fingers-crossed I am covered against most eventualities.
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. Abraham Lincoln, (attributed) 16th president of US (1809 - 1865)