What is a false positive?
A false positive is a result that indicates a particular attribute is present even when it is not. It is a standard term that is used in the technology field, medical and chemical industries and in many other areas.
In this blog post, we are going to discuss false positives with respect to anti-virus. Meaning, we will discuss an anti-virus flagging a particular file or software as a virus when it is not.
Now say, for instance, you are trying to download software from a pretty trusted source. But to your dismay, you see a warning that the software is unsafe. Not many of us have the guts to go ahead and install it right? What if it’s really a virus? Could turn out to be dangerous right?
How to find out if the software is a virus or a false positive?
There is always a possibility that your anti-virus isn’t perfect and can make mistakes. This is particularly true when the anti-virus program has a very broad detection algorithm. In that case, there is a high possibility that your file/software will be detected as false positive.
In order to help you find out if the software is really harmful or if it just flagged false positive, we are going to provide you with some helpful tips below.
- First of all, type the name of the software that your anti-virus is flagging as false positive into Google and look it up. You can also include the word ‘False positive’ along with the name of the software to see instances posted by other users. Do thorough research to find out if the software is dangerous.
- You can also Google the warning message that your anti-virus is displaying along with the name of the software. These 2 steps should help you get a fair idea of the problem. If it doesn’t help, you can use the Virus Total which is specifically designed to check for false positives.
Whenever your file/software is detected as a virus, just go ahead and upload it to Virus Total. This tool will scan your file against 48 different anti-virus scanners and provide you with the result. This will help you easily identify if you’re dealing with a false positive.
How to deal with anti-virus false positive?
If you find that the software is being detected as a false positive, the guide below will help you. But remember; always use your judgment before you make this call.
- Open your anti-virus software and click Settings in the toolbar
- You will see options like ‘Whitelist’, ‘Exceptions’ or ‘Allowed List’ or something on those lines
- Add the path of the .exe file that is showing you a false positive to this list and save the changes
Now, you have added an exception to your anti-virus program, so you should be able to install and use the software without the anti-virus interfering.
Data recovery using Remo Recover software
In some cases, it is possible that your internal system files are scanned by anti-virus and detected as virus by mistake (again a typical case of false positive). In that case, if you take action and delete those files, there is a possibility that your Windows will not boot anymore. In such cases, it is extremely important that you recover them to get back working on the system. And Remo Recover is a wonderful choice to recover these files. It can not only recover files that are deleted by anti-virus, but also files that are deleted accidentally, files that are deleted by virus or files lost due to other reasons. All kinds of files like Word documents, notes, PDF’s, photos, videos etc. can be recovered using Remo Recover.