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Writing a virus scanner

If I need to write a scanner, how do I get access to the various virus patterns or databases? Is mere comparison enough to disinfect a virus? How do I sandbox it?

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My first question would be "Why do you think you would need to write a scanner?" There are already a number available, and I don't think the world really needs another one all that desperately. There are hundreds of viruses, worms and other nasties out there, and I don't think that you'd easily find anyone willing to give you the data you ask for.

I'd like to suggest that you explore other approaches to defending against malware than scanners -- that is a fairly mature field already.

For more information on this topic, visit these other resources:
Virus Prevention Tip: Exposing the myth of antivirus
Scheier's Security Product Roundup: Antivirus tools unify and conquer
Virus Prevention Tip: Antivirus hardware?

This was first published in October 2002

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