AMTSO: Talk to me....

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How do you decide which anti-virus product to buy? Well, I could just suggest that you buy an ESET product, but you might doubt my impartiality. The fact is, anti-malware testing is a difficult and contentious topic. Trust me on that: I've been active in the field as a tester and, lately, as a malware researcher, since the 1990s. That doesn't mean you have to trust me on everything to do with testing of course, but I can at least speak authoritatively on the contentiousness aspect.

The Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO) is an international organization that promotes improved methodologies for testing security products. ESET has been highly active in the organization since its early days (AMTSO's early days, that is). ESET CEO Andrew Lee was one of the original members of the board of directors, and I've occupied the same (unpaid) role for a couple of (highly stressful) years.

AMTSO came into being because the vendor and tester communities agreed that standards of testing needed to be higher. However, there has been debate about the way its membership is constituted, and it has always recognized that other communities (publishers, academia, and the user community) can provide valuable input into the developing of industry. Last year, the members agreed to open up membership with a new subscription model. Subscribers don't get voting rights, but pay a measly 25 euros (around $36) rather than the hefty cost of full membership. Additionally, AMTSO has launched a forum where anyone – apart from forum spammers, who are being blocked mercilessly – can post and engage in testing-related discussions.

The forum and the subscription application tab are directly accessible at http://www.amtso.org.

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