How to Test Your Antivirus, Anti-malware, Anti-spyware, Firewall or other Security Software

Do you know if your antivirus, anti-malware or anti-spyware software is really working properly? Millions of online users have antivirus software installed on their computers and mobile devices, but how can they tell if they are working properly. Should they wait until their computers or mobile devices get infected before they figure out if their antivirus software are actively protecting them?

How to Test Your Antivirus, Anti-malware, Anti-spyware, Firewall  or other Security Software

The last thing online users want to find out is that their antivirus software are not working how they should and when they should. Just imagine a skydiver jumping out of a plane and rapidly free falling towards the ground, pulls his parachute release cord and realize it is not working. Well, if you do not want to be like that skydiver when it comes to protecting yourself against viruses, spyware, ransomware and other malware, you need to make sure your antivirus is actively working and protecting your computer at all times.

Please follow the instructions below to test your antivirus software using the EICAR Standard Anti-Virus Test.

The EICAR Standard Anti-Virus Test File or EICAR test file is a computer file that was developed by the European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR) and Computer Antivirus Research Organization (CARO), to test the response of computer antivirus (AV) programs. Instead of using real malware, which could do real damage, this test file allows people to test anti-virus software without having to use a real computer virus.

How to Test if Your Antivirus, Anti-malware or Anti-spyware is Working

  1. Copy the following string of characters:

    X5O!P%@AP[4\PZX54(P^)7CC)7}$EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!$H+H*

  2. Create a text file using Notepad, Textpad, or another text editor.
  3. Paste the string of characters that you have copied in step 1 into the text editor. If there is any space or new line at the end of the string after pasting it, please delete it.
  4. Save the text file and close your text editor.
  5. Open the text file by double-clicking on it, if it was not deleted.

Once you have saved the text file or attempt to open it, your antivirus should display a prompt or warning telling you that a threat was detected. Or, it will just remove the text file. If you are able to open and view the text file by double clicking on it, it means your antivirus is not actively protecting you.

Network administrators who want to test their email antivirus or firewall security software, can attach the same text file to an email message and send the same message to an email address on their network. Their antivirus or firewall security software should detect the attached text file as a virus or threat and remove it before it reaches the recipient.

Check the comment section below for additional information, share what you know, or ask a question about this article by leaving a comment below. And, to quickly find answers to your questions, use our search Search engine.

Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.
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Comments, Questions, Answers, or Reviews

Comments (Total: 4)

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  • December 9, 2017 at 4:29 PM by an anonymous user from: Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia

    Brilliant. I am running an antivirus product and a separate malware product. Not sure which one did the trick, as there was no pop-up to tell me.

    The text file was just vaporized as soon as I saved it. Amazing.

    I even tried modifying an existing text file with

    X5O!P%@AP[4\PZX54(P^)7CC)7}$EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!$H H*

    and again - BOOM! It was gone.

    Nice.

  • November 24, 2017 at 1:45 PM by doowopluver from: Giddings, Texas, United States

    Tried to forward it in an e-mail and detected right away Thanks!

  • June 11, 2017 at 7:04 AM by an anonymous user from: Edgware, England, United Kingdom

    It opened after I saved it but after that I scanned the file by right clicking on it and choosing "scan selected files with Avira" and it detected and "cleaned" it by removing it seemingly completely or just off my desktop. I do not know if it has been put elsewhere.

    • June 11, 2017 at 7:21 AM by info

      The file has been quarantined or deleted, which means your antivirus is working perfectly.

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How to Test Your Antivirus, Anti-malware, Anti-spyware, Firewall or other Security Software