How to Report False Positives to Antivirus Software Vendors?

19 minutes read

Reporting false positives to antivirus software vendors is an important task to help improve the accuracy and performance of antivirus programs. False positives occur when an antivirus software falsely identifies a clean file or program as malicious. This can be inconvenient and potentially harmful if it leads to the deletion or blocking of legitimate files or software.


To report a false positive, you can follow these general steps:

  1. Gather information: Note down the details of the false positive, including the name or path of the file detected as malicious, the name and version of the antivirus software, and any error messages received.
  2. Verify the false positive: Make sure that the file or program is indeed clean and does not pose any security threat. You can use other antivirus programs or online virus scanning services to check the file's status.
  3. Contact the antivirus software vendor: Look for the official support channels of the antivirus software vendor. Visit their website or search for their support email address. Some vendors may have specific channels or forms dedicated to false positive reports.
  4. Write an email or report: Compose a detailed and concise message explaining the false positive. Include the information you gathered, such as the name and path of the file, the detection name, the version of the antivirus software, and any additional relevant details. Provide an explanation that the file is legitimate and harmless.
  5. Attach the file (optional): If possible, consider attaching the falsely detected file to your report email. This can help the vendor analyze the file and improve their detection algorithms.
  6. Submit the report: Send the email or submit the false positive report through the vendor's preferred method. Make sure to follow any specific instructions they provide.
  7. Follow up (optional): If you do not receive a response after some time, you can consider sending a polite follow-up message to check the status of your report. Some vendors may have a public forum or community where you can also share your false positive experience.


Remember, reporting false positives helps antivirus software vendors to refine their threat detection mechanisms and minimize the chances of legitimate files being flagged as malicious.

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What is the typical turnaround time for antivirus vendors to investigate false positives?

The turnaround time for antivirus vendors to investigate false positives can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the issue, the volume of reports, and the responsiveness of the vendor. However, many professional antivirus vendors strive to investigate false positives promptly. Typically, they aim to acknowledge the report within a few business days and provide a resolution or explanation within a week or two. This timeframe may also depend on whether the false positive affects critical or popular software.


It's important to note that some vendors have dedicated teams and processes in place to handle false positives efficiently, reducing the investigation time. Additionally, some vendors offer online portals or tools where users can submit files for analysis, which can expedite the investigation process.


How to report false positives to antivirus software vendors?

To report false positives to antivirus software vendors, you can follow these general steps:

  1. Identify the antivirus software vendor: Determine the company that produces the antivirus software that identified the false positive.
  2. Gather information: Collect details about the false positive, including the name of the affected file, the specific antivirus program that flagged it, and any other relevant information like the version of the antivirus software.
  3. Check the vendor's website: Visit the antivirus software vendor's website and look for a "Contact" or "Support" section. Most vendors provide instructions on how to report false positives.
  4. Submit a false positive report: Fill out the vendor's false positive report form or email them with the gathered information. Provide a clear description of the false positive and any supporting evidence that proves the file is legitimate and safe. Screenshots or hashes of the file can be useful for verification.
  5. Scan the file with multiple antivirus vendors: If possible, scan the file with other antivirus products to confirm that it is being flagged as a false positive. This can provide additional evidence to support your report.
  6. Stay engaged: Follow up with the antivirus software vendor to ensure they acknowledge your report and take appropriate action. They may require additional information or contact you for further details.


Remember to be patient, as resolving false positives can take time. Antivirus vendors typically investigate reports thoroughly to ensure the accuracy of their detections and to avoid any potential threats.


How to avoid triggering false positives with specific types of files or applications?

To avoid triggering false positives with specific types of files or applications, you can follow these precautions:

  1. Digital signing: Ensure that your files and applications are digitally signed using a trusted certificate. A digital signature can verify the authenticity and integrity of your files, minimizing the chance of being detected as a false positive.
  2. Whitelisting: Create a whitelist of trusted files, folders, or applications that are known to be safe. This whitelist can be configured in antivirus software or security tools, instructing them to ignore these trusted entities.
  3. Document known false positives: If you encounter false positives with specific files or applications, document them and keep a record. You can contact the antivirus vendor or security software provider and report these false positives, allowing them to make necessary adjustments to avoid future detections.
  4. Behavior-based analysis: Implement behavior-based analysis techniques to detect malicious activities instead of relying solely on signature-based detection. This approach helps in identifying suspicious behavior without solely relying on file characteristics, reducing false positive rates.
  5. File exclusion: Many antivirus programs provide an option to exclude specific files or folders from scanning. If you frequently come across false positives with certain files, you can exclude them from scanning to prevent unnecessary detections.
  6. Keep software up to date: Ensure that your antivirus software, operating system, and applications are up to date with the latest patches and security updates. This reduces the chances of false positives triggered by outdated software.
  7. Test in controlled environments: Before distributing files or applications publicly, test them in controlled environments using reputable antivirus software. This allows you to identify false positives early and make necessary modifications to reduce accidental detections.


Remember, false positives can occur even with the best precautions. It is essential to have proper protocols in place to investigate and address any flagged files or applications promptly.


How to ensure that antivirus software vendors receive accurate false positive reports?

To ensure that antivirus software vendors receive accurate false positive reports, follow these steps:

  1. Verify the issue: Before reporting a false positive, confirm whether the detected file or website is indeed harmless. Check trusted sources, such as online malware scanning services, VirusTotal, or other antivirus software to see if they also flag it as a threat.
  2. Gather information: Collect important details about the false positive, such as the name of the antivirus software, version, and signature database version. Note down the name or path of the falsely detected file or URL, along with any relevant file or website details.
  3. Take screenshots: Capture screenshots or record a video to provide visual evidence of the false positive. This can be helpful for demonstrating the problem to the antivirus software vendor.
  4. Check the vendor's website: Visit the antivirus software vendor's website and search for their dedicated false positive submission page or contact information. Some vendors provide specific channels for false positives.
  5. Report the false positive: Submit the false positive report according to the vendor's guidelines. Include all the relevant information gathered in the earlier steps, such as antivirus software details, falsely detected file or URL, and any additional information or screenshots/videos that can help explain the issue.
  6. Be clear and concise: Clearly explain that you believe it is a false positive and provide a brief explanation as to why. Avoid using technical jargon that could make it harder for the vendor to understand the problem.
  7. Keep records: Make sure to keep a record of the false positive report, including the date, time, and any correspondence with the vendor. This will be useful for future reference.
  8. Follow up if necessary: If you don't receive a response from the vendor or if the false positive issue is not resolved in a timely manner, consider reaching out again to follow up on your report.


By following these steps, you can help antivirus software vendors receive accurate false positive reports and improve the overall performance and reliability of their products.


How to report false positives to multiple antivirus vendors simultaneously?

Reporting false positives to multiple antivirus vendors simultaneously can be a bit challenging, as each vendor typically has their own reporting system. However, you can follow these general steps to report false positives to multiple antivirus vendors:

  1. Identify the false positive: Make sure you have confirmed that the detected file or website is indeed a false positive. False positives can occur when the antivirus software mistakenly identifies a legitimate file or website as malicious.
  2. Collect necessary information: Gather relevant details about the false positive, such as the name of the file or URL, the name of the antivirus software, and the specific detection name or ID provided by the antivirus program.
  3. Check vendor websites: Visit the websites of the antivirus vendors that detected the false positive. Look for a section related to reporting false positives, usually located under the "Support" or "Contact Us" section. Some vendors provide online forms or submission portals specifically dedicated to reporting false positives. Fill out the required information accurately and provide any supporting details or files they may ask for.
  4. Search for shared reporting systems: Some antivirus vendors participate in shared reporting systems like VirusTotal or Jotti's malware scan. These platforms allow users to upload files or URLs, which are then scanned by multiple antivirus engines simultaneously. Report your false positive on these shared systems to notify multiple vendors at once. Search for "VirusTotal false positive report" or "Jotti's malware scan false positive report" to find the relevant reporting pages.
  5. Email individual vendors: If there isn't a shared reporting system available, you can still email the antivirus vendors individually. Look for their customer support email addresses on their websites and send them a detailed email about the false positive. Attach any necessary files or screenshots that can help demonstrate the issue.


Remember to be respectful and provide as much information as possible to help the vendors understand the false positive and resolve it quickly. Keep in mind that false positives may take time to investigate and resolve, as vendors need to ensure they don't compromise the security of their users.

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