Microsoft new malware database is online now. Such a virus encyclopedia is quite useful if one of your machines gets infected by a virus and your antivirus software is not able to get it under control. You can then search for technical background information and ways to get rid of the pest. It is advisable not to rely on just one virus database, though.
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At first glance, Microsoft's Malware Protection Center made a good impression on me. I searched for a couple of viruses I know and always found the information I was looking for. However, I am not a virus expert. What I like is that they list the various names given by different AV vendors to a certain virus.
My favorite malware database is still Trend Micro's Virus Encyclopedia, though. It allows you to restrict your search to effect, malware type, infection channel, and the vulnerability used. For example, you could search for a virus that formats the hard disk and propagates via flash drives.
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I think it is a good idea to bookmark several virus databases. If your network is infected by a new virus, your antivirus software vendor might not have analyzed this new threat yet. Then you will be thankful if someone else can provide information to solve your problem. What is your favorite malware database?