Malware is any software application which subverts the will of the legitimate owner of a computer, by means of force or subterfuge, with or without personal or monetary gain on the part of the creator.

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139
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What should you do if you catch ransomware mid-operation?

You boot up your computer one day and while using it you notice that your drive is unusually busy. You check the System Monitor and notice that an unknown process is using the CPU and both reading and ...
130
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5answers
16k views

How can USB sticks be dangerous?

We all know the story of the USB drive left outside a power plant which was found by a worker and inserted into a computer to see the contents which then allowed a hack to ensue. Here is my question, ...
106
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9answers
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How secure are virtual machines really? False sense of security?

I was reading this CompTIA Security+ SYO-201 book, and the author David Prowse claims that: Whichever VM you select, the VM cannot cross the software boundaries set in place. For example, a ...
98
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11answers
14k views

Is there any way to safely examine the contents of a USB memory stick?

Suppose I found a USB memory stick lying around, and wanted to examine its contents in an attempt to locate its rightful owner. Considering that USB sticks might actually be something altogether more ...
91
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11answers
7k views

How do you explain the necessity of “nuke it from orbit” to management and users?

When a machine has been infected with malware, most of us here immediately identify the appropriate action as "nuke it from orbit" - i.e. wipe the system and start over. Unfortunately, this is often ...
81
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4answers
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What is the risk of copy and pasting Linux commands from a website? How can some commands be invisible? [duplicate]

Like all beginners in the land of Linux, I usually look for websites that contain some useful shell commands, mark it with my mouse, copy it (CTRL + C) and paste it into a terminal. For example, if ...
65
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6answers
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Should I get an antivirus for Ubuntu?

Considering the recent thread regarding anti-virus for the Mac I wonder how many of the arguments put forth are relevant today to Linux systems, specifically Ubuntu. There are no known Ubuntu ...
55
votes
7answers
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Is it safe to install malware in a VM

Is it safe to install malware in virtual machines? I would like to investigate malware, but I don't want to infect my own computer. Can I install the malware in a VMWare VM, maybe even without ...
54
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4answers
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What security risks are posed by software vendors deploying SSL Intercepting proxies on user desktops (e.g. Superfish)

There has been quite a bit of concern noted relating to the recent discovery that Lenovo are pre-installing a piece of Adware (Superfish) which has the capability of intercepting SSL traffic from ...
45
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3answers
5k views

Can USB drive infect my PC with malware if I don't allow any autorun.inf to run?

Assuming that I'm using a trusted USB flash drive (meaning that it's not some device that looks like a USB drive and whose purpose is to damage my PC), is it possible for my PC to get infected from ...
44
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3answers
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Mars Curiosity Rover Security

Does the software in the Mars Curiosity Rover have any security features built-in? I can't imagine how someone would hack into it, but if the rover does indeed have some protection against malicious ...
43
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4answers
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What cryptographic flaw was exploited by Flame, to get its code signed by Microsoft?

Today, Microsoft released a security advisory warning that the "Flame" malware exploited a weakness in a cryptographic algorithm used by Microsoft Terminal Server Licensing Service, and was thereby ...
42
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5answers
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Is it dangerous to call spam phone numbers, even if you know they're spammers?

I sometimes like to check spam just to see how the messages look like, and I found someone who actually put an American phone number (1-XXX-XXX-XXXX). Most of these spammers are either trying to get ...
41
votes
5answers
11k views

Accidentally came across the source code for some malware, what to do?

I accidentally, the other day, went to a dodgy site, and today I discovered that in my cache there lay a text file. And after reading the contents of the file, I have deduced that it is the source ...
40
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4answers
6k views

Have computer criminals been known to exploit easily-edited websites like Wikipedia to embed malicious scripts?

When I was reading a page on Wikipedia several months ago (December 2014) I saw what looked like a pop-up window from BT, but I soon realized that when I closed the page the pop-up disappeared. I then ...
40
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3answers
6k views

How to detect if I am vulnerable to “Superfish,” and how to remove it?

The site has already a discussion of the security risks of "Superfish". It seems to me that anything that tampers with the bits of one's connection is bad. If it tampers with TLS connections, it is ...
37
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5answers
4k views

Risk of tampering when hardware shipment is delayed

I am currently receiving an order of computer parts in the mail including an SSD. Tracking showed that the package arrived in my town on day X, and was originally scheduled for delivery on day X as ...
37
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5answers
5k views

How do I safely inspect a potentially malicious website?

Sometimes I'm interested in what's behind a malicious website. How do I stay on the safe side if I decide to inspect? I'm searching for methods that are quicker and more simple than running the ...
36
votes
2answers
14k views

How secure is the Windows 8 included Anti Virus known as Windows Defender?

How secure is the new Windows 8 anti virus known as Windows Defender? Does it have a protection against malware which uses UAC bypass/process injection/rootkits/process persistence/running the binary ...
35
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5answers
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Are there actions taken against websites that deliver malware?

There are serious tools and services such as Google Safe Browsing for malicious and phishing websites, and others fully dedicated to phishing websites such as Phishing.org. What is done against these ...
35
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8answers
26k views

Is making a clean install enough to remove potential malware?

Is formatting the disk and reinstalling the system from scratch (to Ubuntu) enough to remove any potential hidden software spyware, keyloggers etc.? Or can something still persist installed in the ...
32
votes
4answers
5k views

Why does malware periodically check google.com

I'm looking at some malware PCAPs, e.g. http://malware-traffic-analysis.net/2014/05/27/index.html . One of the things I've been seeing frequently is requests to alexa top million sites (e.g. yandex, ...
32
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4answers
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Does a Virtual Machine stop malware from doing harm?

I would like to know if it is save for the host system of a virtual machine (VM - VirtualBox OSE in my case) to execute malware. Can a virus break out and read or write data from the host system? ...
31
votes
3answers
50k views

Can you get virus just by visiting a website in Chrome?

I've recently read Google Chrome: The End of Drive-By Downloads. Is it true to say that drive-by-downloads are history in Google Chrome? So if I have a link (from a spam email) I can right-click >> ...
30
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6answers
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Can malware be dangerous even when quarantined?

I am reading a book on network security and when talking about user confusion it writes: "It is not uncommon for a user to be asked security questions such as Is it safe to quarantine this ...
30
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6answers
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How safe are employee laptops in China against International corporate espionage?

I recently took a business trip to China. Our IT department told me I could not take my normal machine, and instead gave me a loaner. This loaner had MS Outlook and was linked to my normal company ...
29
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5answers
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Why would malware try to remove other malware?

Recently my php-based website got infected with malware (probably by a stolen ftp password). Basically, every 30 minutes a file frame_cleaner_php.php was uploaded, a HTTP-GET was done on it to execute ...
29
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6answers
11k views

How can normal files hide a virus?

How can normal files supported in the Windows operating system hide a virus? Sometimes opening a .txt , .jpg or .docx files leads to running a virus. How is this possible?
29
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3answers
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Can malware be transmitted via a USB charger plugged into a wall socket?

I have a smart phone that I often plug into a wall socket for charging via a small adapter that rectifies the AC to DC power and transforms the voltage from line (120V or 240V) to 5 V DC, probably ...
27
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2answers
3k views

Identifying the author(s) of a piece of malware

When a new piece of malware appears, people can try to determine where it comes from, and who its authors could be. How do security experts attempt to identify the authors of a new publicly disclosed ...
27
votes
4answers
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How to inject executable, malicious code into PDF, JPEG, MP3, etc.?

I wanted to know if its generally possible to inject executable code into files like PDFs or JPEGs etc., or must there be some kind of security hole in the application? And if so, how would one do ...
27
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1answer
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What is an n-day security attack?

There are several attacks types in computer security. For instance, zero-day attacks consist of attacks that use undisclosed exploits. In contrast, what is an n-day attack? Is it a security concern?
27
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3answers
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Are .dll files normally found in system32 but now in a user’s AppData folder always suspicious?

I recently had to read over some malware reports and associated logs for a confirmed malware detection and subsequent infection of a Windows asset. The logs clearly show .dll files in a user’s AppData ...
27
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3answers
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Malware that can survive BIOS re-flashing

The well-respected security consultant Dragos Ruiu is reporting that he has been infected with mysterious malware that can survive re-installation of the OS and re-flashing of the OS. In other words, ...
27
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4answers
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Is HTML5 vibrate feature a security vulnerability?

While surfing a news website on my mobile, I receive a virus infection alert warning that triggers my phone to vibrate incessantly. The alert looks like the following: I didn't expect my phone to ...
27
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4answers
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Are anti-virus companies companies regularly committing software piracy?

As Mikko Hypponen highlighted in a recent tweet, anti-Virus companies collect and store both samples of malicious software and samples of legitimate software: This got me to thinking, what ...
26
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6answers
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How do I safely inspect a suspicious email attachment?

I received a pretty blatantly spammy email to my Gmail account. I'm not really sure how it made it through the spam filters, since it has all of the telltale signs. The FROM field is spoofed as ...
26
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3answers
2k views

Stack Overflow is www.doioig.gov/? If not, then could I be infected

Great! I made a post recently where I mentioned that my system might be infected. Now something new came up. When I search for Stack Overflow on Google, I see that the URL is www.doioig.gov/. When I ...
24
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2answers
5k views

Why is spreading malware.scr instead of malware.exe more common?

Both are binaries and I guess that AV products know that .scr files that are not screensavers should be dealt with with "special care". I see quite a lot of "Document.pdf.scr" malware samples and ...
24
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5answers
3k views

How can I safely check whether an email link leads to a malicious website?

Over the last few weeks, I've gotten several spam emails from different friends that only contained links to different websites. I would like to click on those links and see what's on the website. ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

How trustworthy is `sudo apt-get install (package name)` in Ubuntu?

One of the easy ways to install a program in Ubuntu Linux is to type a command in the terminal, but how do I know that the program is coming from a trusted source and not from somewhere dangerous? ...
23
votes
4answers
7k views

Are popular porn sites more likely to be infected with malware?

I'm trying to help my friend understand this because he believes that since a site is very popular, that it's less likely to infect its viewers because of its security! Is a popular site less likely ...
23
votes
3answers
3k views

Linux-based Turla trojan

There are several articles describing the newly discovered Linux-based Turla trojan. But basically, all these articles repeat the same, very limited, information. Can anybody provide more details, ...
21
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6answers
2k views

Why are vulnerabilities and lack of security possible in computers?

I have heard about computer vulnerabilities, virus, malware, etc. Why are these threats possible? Why doesn't the computer just do the things it is supposed to? Why do some people write malware, ...
21
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2answers
3k views

How do I remove my website from the malware database?

I have a website which is basically a service platform. As far as I know there is no malware in my website (at least not found according to these free scanners). However, Check Point malware database ...
21
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5answers
1k views

Why would a virus writer bother to check to see if a machine is infected before infecting it?

I was looking at the tripartite structure of a virus, and it seems to check to see if a computer is infected before infecting it with the virus. Would this be an attempt to use files that are already ...
21
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2answers
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Can a Trojan hide itself, so its activity doesn't appear in task manager process? [duplicate]

Can malicious software hide itself, so its activity doesn't appear in the list of processes from Task Manager? Can it hide itself so when someone is controlling your computer, even if you open Task ...
21
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3answers
1k views

Are official browser add-ons really safe?

Almost any browser addon/extension that I install on my Chrome or Firefox (be it Firebug, RESTClient, ...) warns me, saying: It [the add-on] can: Access your data on all website Access ...
21
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2answers
1k views

Cohen's problem

Fred Cohen determined theoritically that viral detetction is an undecidable problem. Can anyone provide an intuitive reasoning for that? Background Fred Cohen experimented with computer viruses ...
21
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3answers
2k views

Can Windows malware harm a Linux computer when it's executed with Wine?

I am an (Ubuntu) Linux user. Sometimes, I have to use Wine for running Windows executables. I would like to know if Windows malware (virus, trojan, worm,...), i.e. malware that was not intended to ...