EICAR.com is a benign DOS executable file that you can use to test the operation of antivirus-scanning software instead of using an actual live virus that could accidentally proliferate or cause system problems. EICAR.com is made available by the European Institute for Computer Anti-Virus Research (EICAR), an internationally recognized antivirus consortium. The file contains a test string of characters, and launching the file at a command prompt results in the message EICAR-STANDARD-ANTIVIRUS-TEST-FILE!

You can learn more about EICAR and EICAR.com at the EICAR Web site (http://www.eicar.com). For McAfee's or Symantec's explanation about how to use EICAR.com to test the company's antivirus products, go to http://vil.nai.com/vil/content/v_98616.htm for McAfee or http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/eicar.test.string.html for Symantec.