What is the EICAR Test Virus?

If you run anti virus systems – which hopefully you do, it is just as important to run regular tests to ensure they are working properly. The term “working” could be anything from making sure auto-updating is working, the engine itself is loaded, the engine is working, and that logging and/or alerting is working.

This article describes the EICAR Test Virus file. Only experiment with this if you know what you’re doing, and strictly at your own risk. Some anti virus packages will not let you delete the test file since it is detected as a virus and treated as such. I stress, only if you are totally comfortable with your operating system and your anti virus software, you should not be experimenting with the EICAR Test Virus.

The European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR) has made a test file available to test your anti virus software. You can find a lot more information at the EICAR website.

You can simply copy and paste the text below into your favourite text editor, then rename the file to eicar.com (it could be any name). If you have resident scanning enabled, it will probably have already been detected.

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

The EICAR Test Virus file is a good way to test your anti virus capabilities, for example, levels of scanning in compressed archives or mail attachment scanning. There are other test files released by anti virus vendors, some of which help test for other forms of malware.

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