How to test your Anti-Virus program…!!!

by Tech Toggle on January 8, 2009

Today i was wondering how to check that my anti-virus program is in working condition or not. Here is the solution. Since it is unacceptable for you to send out real viruses for test or demonstration purposes, you need a file that can safely be passed around and which is obviously non-viral, but which your anti-virus software will react to as if it were a virus.


If your test file is a program, then it should also produce sensible results if it is executed. Also, because you probably want to avoid shipping a pseudo-viral file along with your anti-virus product, your test file should be short and simple, so that your customers can easily create copies of it for themselves.

This test file has been provided to EICAR for distribution as the “EICAR Standard Anti-Virus Test File”, and it satisfies all the criteria listed above. It is safe to pass around, because it is not a virus, and does not include any fragments of viral code. Most products react to it as if it were a virus (though they typically report it with an obvious name, such as “EICAR-AV-Test”).

The file is a legitimate DOS program, and produces sensible results when run (it prints the message “EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!”).

It is also short and simple - in fact, it consists entirely of printable ASCII characters, so that it can easily be created with a regular text editor. Any anti-virus product that supports the EICAR test file should detect it in any file providing that the file starts with the following 68 characters, and is exactly 68 bytes long:


The first 68 characters is the known string. It may be optionally appended by any combination of whitespace characters with the total file length not exceeding 128 characters. The only whitespace characters allowed are the space character, tab, LF, CR, CTRL-Z. To keep things simple the file uses only upper case letters, digits and punctuation marks, and does not include spaces. The only thing to watch out for when typing in the test file is that the third character is the capital letter “O”, not the digit zero.

You are encouraged to make use of the EICAR test file. If you are aware of people who are looking for real viruses “for test purposes”, bring the test file to their attention. If you are aware of people who are discussing the possibility of an industry-standard test file.

In order to facilitate various scenarios, we provide 4 files for download. The first,, contains the ASCII string as described above. The second file,, is a copy of this file with a different filename. Some readers reported problems when downloading the first file, which can be circumvented when using the second version. Just download and rename the file to “”. That will do the trick. The third version contains the test file inside a zip ARCHIVEe. A good anti-virus scanner will spot a ‘virus’ inside an ARCHIVEe. The last version is a zip ARCHIVEes containing the third file. This file can be used to see whether the virus scanner checks ARCHIVEes more than only one level deep.

Once downloaded run your AV scanner. It should detect at least the file “”. Good scanners will detect the ‘virus’ in the single zip ARCHIVEe and may be even in the double zip ARCHIVEe. Once detected the scanner might not allow you any access to the file(s) anymore. You might not even be allowed by the scanner to delete these files. This is caused by the scanner which puts the file into quarantaine. The test file will be treated just like any other real virus infected file. Read the user’s manual of your AV scanner what to do or contact the vendor/manufacturer of your AV scanner.

Download EICAR.COM



Download EICAR.COM.ZIP (Zipped 2 Times)


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