The WildList is a co-operative listing of viruses that are actually causing problems on real users' computers (as opposed to just residing in collections). Joe Wells started the list in the early 1990's and detecting all the viruses listed on the current WildList has become an important criteria in anti-virus reviews, including those by ICSA, Secure Computing and Virus Bulletin. The strength of the WildList has been its' independence from corporate agendas, due to its' voluntary nature, and, of course, the integrity of the primary researchers behind it.
Unfortunately, the voluntary nature is now proving to be its' weakness. In a message to the anti-virus community, reported by the Register, Shane Coursen, the Chief Executive of the WildList Organisation said that the March 2002 list would be the last until further notice, and that he is now seeking a position as a full-time anti-virus researcher. The care taken to ensure that the list is accurate, and does not include fake reports from virus writers, or non-viruses is a lot of work.
The WildList has been criticised by some anti-virus researchers for not being comprehensive, but a better methodology for measuring the virus problem has yet to be proposed. It is hoped that this will prove to be a temporary pause, and the WildList will re-emerge with a stronger support model that maintains its' independence.