SoundBox 2.9

Kingdom Hall Meeting Recording & Music/Video Playback

SoundBox Installation & Virus Detection

Users occasionally report that their anti-virus software detects a problem with SoundBox (or more often the SoundBox installation application). Please note that there has never been a valid virus or malware detection with any SoundBox distribution since initial release in 2005. Modern anti-virus tools are prone to erroneous detection, called 'false positives', which is where SoundBox - and many other applications from small vendors - trip up.

The reported detections in SoundBox software are all 'generic' (they often include the word "Generic" or "GEN" in their title). This indicates that the anti-virus software did not find a virus or malware, but simply found code that might typically be used by a malware writer - it employed a heuristic to 'guess' that malware could be present; malware that has yet to be discovered and catalogued!

Speculative inspection like this might be just what you need if your PC is web-enabled and sat in a classroom of 12 year olds, but if you're a responsible user it poses a real impediment to running powerful tools from indie developers. The large software companies don't suffer from false positives because the anti-virus vendors go out of their way to whitelist big titles - they would soon lose market share if they repeatedly and erroneously flagged Microsoft products for example. So they build "whitelist" databases reportedly containing hundreds of millions of software files that would otherwise be targeted by the heuristic. This is the route some anti-virus vendors appear to be taking - their assumption is that if a piece of software does something slightly unusual and it's not in their whitelist then it deserves a red-flag!

Smaller software suppliers are left having to chase multiple anti-virus companies to register 'false positives' or attempt to join several official programmes to gain approval. One of the difficulties I have is that I frequently update the SoundBox software as part of a deliberate policy of 'agile' development. This means that even if I manage to register a false positive for one version, that listing is redundant within a few weeks when I upload a new installer which is naturally treated by the anti-virus programs as a different proposition.

Of course, I'd be foolhardy to claim that a SoundBox release will never succumb to a virus, but the software undergoes standard checks before every release.

Virustotal is a useful online diagnostic tool that should provide some reassurance when using niche-market software like SoundBox.

It's up to you what malware protection scheme you use, but if you control access to the PC and exercise careful use of the internet you really shouldn't need to burden it with heavyweight anti-virus software that soaks up precious resources in heuristic analysis. On the other hand if you do use anti-virus tools that flag SoundBox please approach the warnings with some degree of scepticism. And be prepared for the software to prevent installation of SoundBox, or worse to delete files when you try to run it.