I am growing concerned with the volume of likely state-sponsored malware and related attacks1.

I am worried that many nations have legislation allowing them to issue orders or otherwise compromise private endeavor2 and often suppress discussion of these orders with gag orders.3

I am starting to consider the provenance and integrity of my virus scanner to be important.

I would like a virus scanner that:

  1. Has an engine that is routinely scrutinized, and
  2. Has virus definition data that is routinely scrutinized.

I would consider these conditions met if:

  1. The above components are published Open Source, or
  2. Are scrutinized by a trusted digital rights organization like EFF or ORG.

Additional features required:

  1. Support for the Windows operating system.

Desirable features:

  1. Choice of real-time, on-demand or scheduled scanning
  2. Performance characteristics that compare with traditional commercial offerings
  3. Detection characteristics that compare with traditional commercial offerings


1: Attacks such as: CIPAV, Flame, Stuxnet, Mask and recently NSA Radio Hacks.

2: Compromises such as: the Clipper Chip, cryptography export restrictions, and recently PRISM.

3: Gags such as : National security letters e.g Twitter Subpoena



ClamAV is Open Source, and I know that researchers and individuals scrutinize its source code.

I don't think any organization is tasked with auditing it on a regular basis, though.

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  • That looks a lot fancier than I remember - is that clamwin? Feb 12 '14 at 11:16
  • 4
    While the ClamAV engine is open source, the windows "download" button on that website links to an installer for the closed source and very cloud-centric Immunet 3 product that also includes the SPERO and ETHOS engines (source). In addition to uploading those files flagged as suspect, it will upload information about the files that exist on your machine, and which files you execute, to centralised servers (source). Feb 13 '14 at 1:19
  • 2
    @KellyThomas: I was not aware of this, thanks a lot for the information! I will try to update my answer, but don't hesitate to edit it as well!
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Feb 13 '14 at 2:01

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