Throwback Thursday: Giving the EICAR test file some teeth

Posted by   Martijn Grooten on   May 24, 2018

When in our VB100 test lab we set up an anti-virus product, one of the first things we do is to see if it works by making it scan the EICAR test file. This 68-byte file is supposed to be detected by any anti-virus product but does not perform any malicious activities and thus can safely be copied to any computer.

As Randy Abrams (then at Microsoft, now Senior Security Analyst at Webroot) explained in a paper presented at the VB99 conference, such a file was particularly important at a time when the majority of malware encountered consisted of self-replicating viruses. This is less the case today, but there are still many cases in which one needs a reliably detected but otherwise harmless file, and the EICAR test file thus remains in wide use.

Not all of this use is totally harmless though: the fact that a specific 68-byte string can trigger an anti-virus alert has been used in proof-of-concept denial-of-service attacks, for example by adding the string to a blockchain.

Today, for Throwback Thursday, we republish Randy's 1999 paper in both HTML and PDF format.

Throwback-Thursday-VB.jpg

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

VB2018 video: The Big Bang Theory by APT-C-23

Today, we release the video of the VB2018 presentation by Check Point researcher Aseel Kayal, who connected the various dots relating to campaigns by the APT-C-23 threat group.

VB2019 London - join us for the most international threat intelligence conference!

VB calls on organisations and individuals involved in threat intelligence from around the world to participate in next year's Virus Bulletin conference.

VB2018 paper: Tracking Mirai variants

Today, we publish the VB2018 paper by Qihoo 360 researchers Ya Liu and Hui Wang, on extracting data from variants of the Mirai botnet to classify and track variants.

VB2018 paper: Hide'n'Seek: an adaptive peer-to-peer IoT botnet

2018 has seen an increase in the variety of botnets living on the Internet of Things - such as Hide'N'Seek, which is notable for its use of peer-to-peer for command-and-control communication. Today, we publish the VB2018 paper by Bitdefender…

New paper: Botception: botnet distributes script with bot capabilities

In a new paper, Avast researchers Jan Sirmer and Adolf Streda look at how a spam campaign sent via the Necurs botnet was delivering the Flawed Ammyy RAT. As well as publishing the paper, we have also released the video of the reseachers' VB2018…

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.