Today sees the official formation of the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO) which has come about following an industry wide concern about the lack of any real-world standards that apply to anti-malware solutions when it comes to testing. Why is this important? Because unless the testing methodologies used to evaluate anti-malware are doing an effective, and consistently so, job then the product reviews that end up in magazines and published on the web are going to be incomplete, inaccurate and sometimes simply misleading. This has become an increasing pressing problem to address as anti-malware solutions become ever increasingly complex themselves in order to best secure systems against the maturing malware threat.
AMTSO itself is purely focused on addressing this global need for an improvement in the objectivity, quality and relevance of these testing methodologies, and as such is looking to promulgate universally adopted standards and guidelines. AMTSO promises to:
- Provide a forum for discussions related to the testing of anti-malware and related products
- Develop and publicize objective standards and best practices for testing of anti-malware and related products
- Promote education and awareness of issues related to the testing of anti-malware and related products
- Provide tools and resources to aid standards-based testing methodologies
- Provide analysis and review of current and future testing of anti-malware and related products
As Andreas Marx from the highly respected AV-Test.org site says "well executed and comprehensive tests will light the way to better products -- it is not only the developers who contribute towards the improvement of products. Most developers focus on the aspects of a product which are used to compare and rank products and to finally perform better in such kind of tests. Thus, it is essential for testers to move on the next level of product testing, focusing on everything besides the "traditional" signature detection. If this doesn't happen, an entire industry might run into trouble and with it, billions of users may be misled by inadequate tests."