In an unlikely pairing, Microsoft and Google have partnered up to reduce the amount of false positive antivirus flags. While the two are at odds in many competing services and projects, one thing still rings clear to both companies -- Antivirus false flags are a headache to any user; and users paint fault in broad strokes.
The anti-malware company VirusTotal, which was purchased by Google a year ago, has been in deep development testing of a program called "trusted source". The program is designed to bolster trust in the antivirus industry by allowing large software developers to share their files so they can be quickly marked as safe by its antivirus program. If a file is flagged, the company will inform the developer, which then in turn allows the developer to act quickly and correct the false positive.
Microsoft was reported to have contributed to more than 6,000 false positives being fixed within the program.
"Software developers may face strong business impact as a large portion of their users see their programs rendered unusable" from false flag reports, the Virus Total blog post said. That can lead to users being "unable to finish critical tasks."
Could this anti-virus project have the potential to squelch the fires that rage in the halls of both companies? Likely not. ZDNet's Larry Dignan cautions, "Don't get too carried away by this Google and Microsoft detente. After all, the search giant will still out Microsoft vulnerabilities before they are fixed."
While only time will tell whether or not a cease fire will ever occur between the two tech giants, one thing is certain, neither of them like the reputation false positive antivirus malware is leaving on their name.