A recent report on the effectiveness of anti-virus
software has been condemned by Sophos and Dr Solomon's for causing
The BrownWright Report styles itself as an independent summary
of a number of anti-virus product reviews across 6,301 viruses. The
tests were conducted on unverified files from twenty websites
claiming to have viruses for download. The report claimed that
anti-virus products have "astonishing shortcomings."
Since publication, anti-virus vendors have been denied access to
the virus samples which the BrownWright Report alleges to have been
missed. The vendors have also been refused details of the websites
used for virus downloads and the reports outlining where products
failed. This leaves them unable to verify the report findings.
"Anti-virus vendors carry out verifiable quality assurance tests
of their own," said Paul Ducklin, head of research at Sophos.
"Tests such as those carried out for the BrownWright report only
serve to encourage users not to take anti-virus testing seriously.
Worried users are welcome to come and see our test methods for
"Virus exchange websites have consistently been an incredibly
poor research source," warns Graham Cluley, senior technology
consultant at Dr Solomon's. "Responsible thinking says that surfing
virus exchange sites is to be discouraged as far as possible."