Here are some safe and easy ways to find out if your PC’s anti-malware tools are actually protecting you.
Do-it-yourself anti-malware testing consists of two parts: proactively probing your PC’s defenses using simulated malware attacks, and performing routine verification tests to ensure that your PC remains free of real malware.
Neither of the two methods, when used alone, is sufficient to ensure you’re protected. However, used together, they can give you a high level of confidence that your system can resist both current and future threats.
Security sites offer simulated malware
Clearly, true malware testing must be done with great care. Security professionals take expensive and rigorous steps to trap and examine malware, and to test the effectiveness of anti-malware applications. Obviously, we don’t want to willingly expose our systems to live malware!
But a number of companies have come up with a safe solution for users; they offer webpages and downloadable files containing neutered, inert, or simulated versions of malware. You can use these test samples to sniff out potential vulnerabilities in your malware defenses — without exposing your system to actual malicious payloads.
These samples aren’t all-encompassing, but they’re still useful. For example, if you’ve changed, upgraded, or altered your primary anti-malware tool, you can run some quick tests with simulated malware to ensure that the app’s basic functions are in place and active.