Thursday, January 8, 2015

False positives generated by virus scanners

During the last year, the antivirus software running on my computer often pops up with warning messages when I build Visual Basic projects. This happens because the VB program I'm writing just happens to contain a sequence of binary bytes that matches a common sequence of bytes found in one of the many thousands of known malware programs on the Internet. These sequences of bytes are known as virus signatures, and they provide a useful way of identifying a possible threat to your computer. You will occasionally find, as I have, that your Visual Basic project refuses to build and run because your computer's antivirus scanner quarantines the application's EXE file. So, what can you do about this problem?

I usually turn off my virus scanner for a few minutes while I run the application. Of course, doing so leaves me vulnerable for a brief period of time, so I am always careful to avoid connecting my Web browser to suspicious Web sites, or clicking on email attachments while the scanner is turned off. The slight inconvenience is outweighed by knowing that my computer is safe. You can even go so far as to temporarily disable your Internet connection while building your project. Once your project is built, enable your virus scanner immediately.