The recent headlines by a security guru claiming that Samsung computers came with a built-in key-logger, turned out to be a false-positive by the security software he was using. So what is a false-positive and how can you avoid becoming a victim?
A false-positive usually occurs when a known good file on a computer system is tagged by a security software as being a bug. The user normally will be alerted by their security software that the system is infected and usually will identify which files[s] are contain the virus. In reality the system is not infected and the security software is sending a false report. The opposite of a false-positive is a false-negative in which the security software actually misses a virus and reports that the system is clean. Neither of the situations are desirable and can cause consumers considerable anguish.
One would think that buying the most expensive security software would be the best solution. The unfortunate thing is that no commercial nor free security software is totally immune from either a false-positive nor a false-negative. Almost every software program designed to intercept any type of critter on a computer system has had both false-positives and false-negative incidence sometime during their existence. So what are we consumers supposed to do to prevent either situation from occurring?
Your first thought is why don’t I just run two or more security softwares on my system. This way one of the programs is sure to find the bug. Though this type of thinking appears sound, the problem is that running more than one software at a time to root out bugs can cause problems. Anti-virus and security suites are designed to run in the background during idle times to keep track of unwanted changes on the computer. Two similar type softwares running at the same time can interfere with the performance of both software products and can actually can, in some cases, slow your system to a crawl.
What I do is fairly simple. I have been using free anti-virus programs for six years and have never had a problem. I used AVG for many years without an issue nor an infection, but about six months ago when the company introduced AVG 2011, the program caused issues on my personal computer system. I made a change over to the free edition of Avast which has worked flawlessly for me. It works quietly in the back ground and doesn’t appear to have caused any undesirable performance issues to my computer system. However, I do not rely on just one software program to make sure my system remains infection free.
Every few weeks or so I run Malwarebytes and scan my system for infections. About once a month or so I run an online scanner such as Kaspersky, Bit-defender, Trend Micro or other online scanner. This formula has worked well for me over the years and none of my personal nor work computers have ever been infected nor have I received a false-positive report.
If you do receive a virus alert and if your are unsure it is legitimate or not, copy and past the alert into your browser and do a search. You may find that your are not the only victim of having received a false report of a bug.