Q

Enemy at the gates? Antimalware screens unlucky coder's software

This week, a developer asks our expert why antimalware protection is deleting his software. The cause might not be bad code, and there is recourse.

The software I'm offering for download is being detected as a virus. How can I keep it from being deleted by antivirus software?

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What is the future of antimalware protection?

With shareware or freeware programs, the problem could originate within your own code, but there are other things to consider when dealing with antimalware reactions.

Did you copy any code off the Internet and use it in your program? If so, it could include known malware or at least be questionable in the eyes of antimalware programs.

If an application makes any direct hardware calls or performs certain functions that could be considered suspicious in Windows -- such as hooking into the keyboard, enabling a webcam or capturing the screen -- this can trigger a virus alert.

I wrote many programs in Assembler and C back in college that were often flagged by Webroot, Microsoft Security Essentials and other antimalware programs. Ditto for older mouse and network drivers for DOS and Windows. Even today's legitimate security tools for network analysis, password cracking and so on are often flagged as malware even though they're not.

Does your antimalware software actually delete the program files? Perhaps you can contact the antimalware vendor about it, make your case and somehow have it whitelisted.

Do other antimalware programs flag it as malicious? It sounds like more testing -- and more information -- is needed. This should be easy to justify if you've spent a good amount of time writing this program or if you believe you can make good money by selling it.

The bottom line is you're going to have to somehow make your case to users and the antimalware vendors (via a code re-write, marketing, etc.) that your program is legitimate and is not performing any malicious functions.

This was first published in December 2013

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