Security and DNA Sequence Assembler
In 2006, an obsolete version of Symantec (Norton) Antivirus
reported DNA Baser as possible threat. We promptly contacted Symantec and they admitted that it is a false alarm. Updated versions of Norton Antivirus do not show this false alarm anymore. However, we feel obligated to talk a bit around this issue in order to explain how serious we treat the security issues in our product and to help people to understand what is the difference between a false alarm
and a true dangerous program (virus).
So, let's start:
Is it DNA Baser a threat?
DNA Baser is on the market since 2004. We are doing business with important companies, universities, laboratories and hospitals all over the world. None of them complained that DNA Baser accidentally or intentionally deleted data from their computers.
Why antivirus programs generate false reports (false positive)?
There may be three reasons for this behavior:
- Producer fault: the antivirus program has a bug or the heuristic detection is too aggressive. It happens many times, and the producer usually fixes this in future updates (usually daily).
- User fault: the anti-virus has the heuristic flags too sensitive (heuristic flags are set to ‘High’ instead of ‘Medium/Recommended’). It is normal for an antivirus with heuristic flags set to extreme to raise more false-positive alarms than usual.
- Commercial propaganda: low quality antivirus programs are a bit overzealous, in order to look better than other concurrent software. Many users believe that an antivirus program is better than others if it reports more suspicious activities. This is wrong! A good antivirus should report ONLY the real problems without disturbing the user with inutile pop-ups like "This program
may be a threat but we are not sure", at every 2 minutes.
Why the false alarms happen only with some antivirus programs?
In order to decrease its size and load-time, our program is self-packed. This technology is sometimes used also by malware programs. Therefore, some low quality antivirus programs treat any program using this technology as suspicious (which is totally wrong).
How can you tell if a virus report is real or not?
Sometimes anti-virus program can report software as suspicious even if there is no reason for this.
If the anti-virus reports an explicit virus name, then yes there is a virus. If it reports only a possible threat, them probably it is just over-zealous.
In addition, you can ignore (in most cases) reports of falling in the following categories: fake virus, jokes, crack tool, hoaxes, hacking tools, bombers, adware. These are programs that you don't really want them in your computer, however, they are not real/imminent threats for you.
My antivirus keeps reporting "this may be a threat... that may be a danger..."
Ever thought trying a new antivirus product? We recommend you to try another antivirus product (all of them offer a free trial period of about 15-30 days). There are many good antivirus programs in the world.
What antivirus program do you recommend?
First of al, we don't really recommend you a free product. Yes, free software is good, but not when speaking about your computer's security.
Kaspersky takes only 11MB of space on hard drive and only 14MB of RAM, compared with Symantec which goes way over 100MB.
Another advantage is that Kaspersky can be totally disabled if you do not use it (so it will free the memory) while Symantec cannot.
I will install two antivirus products... just to be safe!
Don't do that! EVER! DO NOT install two antivirus programs in the same machine, because they will conflict with each other!
What about DNA Baser?
When releasing a new version, we always scan the package before upload with two different antivirus programs (all updated daily), even if it is not necessary: the machines where DNA Baser is developed are under strict security policy. There is no realistic chance that those machines to get infected.
In addition, we use 'external witnesses', companies specialized in scanning software against malware, which usually scan with 10 antivirus products then reports the results.
Here are some links to 'external witnesses'.
Do your own research
Are you still unsure? If you want to know more about DNA Baser, do your own research:
* Do a Google search for [“DNA Baser” virus report] and you will see that are no virus reports, world wide, related to our product.
* Contact your antivirus' customer support and ask questions.
* Install other antivirus programs or ask a friend (who has a different antivirus program than yours) to scan DNA Baser.
* Contact other people that use DNA Baser and ask if they ever had problems.
* Monitor DNA Baser's activity with dedicated tools like the Sysinternals tool kit.
If you still think there is a possible problem or if you still have questions, please contact us.