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Could anyone tell me if there's a way I can trust an application I'm running on my computer. Like a video game, for example, or the launcher of that video game.

How can I know if, Counter-Strike for example, did or is doing anything malicious?

I understand that some big video game titles might be safer for how many people experiment with them and for other reasons, like them not wanting to risk the huge commerce value they have by breaching user's privacy. I'm trying to know how are they practically trusted and if there's any way those apps' activities are seen and examined fully or if there's a chance something is not being detected.

A big video game title can have the guise of commerce, but be for the same reason the best method to spy on people in big numbers.

I'm worried of things like, for malicious intents, stealing login credentials for other unrelated services that I use, seeing my PC's name or username, my network's name, my emails, my social media accounts, my documents, my pictures and files in general, getting access to microphones or webcams, using my PC as a proxy for anything malicious, setting up remote access, or anything very malicious that I might have not thought about.

Some of those breaches is not a big deal, but some are really things I don't want to risk.

I remember reading somewhere that there's no way at all of knowing what an exe does on a computer. How true is that?

Is there any easy safety measures I can take? Do popular games like those get examined thoroughly by experts? I want to trust those apps. How can I do so?

I wonder if anything malicious caused by something like I mentioned happens, then could it cause the computer to be forever ridden with whatever it caused? Or is that too difficult for an application to cause?

If such apps were examined by the best experts, then how likely is it that something goes undetected?

How can I look for suspicious activity of an app? Can I analyze the thing myself? How reliable can a beginner's analysis (mine) be? Or does it rely more on the tools used?

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  • You've asked quite a number of broad questions here. Can you narrow it down a little?
    – schroeder
    Jan 28 '20 at 16:40
  • Should I edit the question or comment? I just want to now about those games I mentioned (not counter strike). It makes it a lot shorter to just mention the games. Otherwise, it's games that are about half or twice as popular as CSGO at the moment, and they are from studios where they have a malicious authority controlling everything. Since I did not mention those games I hope that I didn't just go too far because no one knows which games I'm talking about. If I was to not say what I just I'll have to explain a LOT more. Saying it like it is makes it short.
    – GrassOnion
    Jan 28 '20 at 17:03
  • @Steffen Ullrich It answers a great portion of my concerns.Thank you.
    – GrassOnion
    Jan 28 '20 at 17:54
  • If you want to only know specifically about those specific games, then the question is off-topic. I edited your question to be more general.
    – schroeder
    Jan 28 '20 at 23:08
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I remember reading somewhere that there's no way at all of knowing what an exe does on a computer. How true is that?

As much I wish there was a magic .exe problem-finder program, there isn't. If you really are worried about what an .exe file will do to your computer, run it in a VM (though VMs aren't completely safe) or on a computer or laptop you don't care about.

Is there any easy safety measures I can take? Do popular games like those get examined thoroughly by experts? I want to trust those apps. How can I do so?

I would like to pose another question to answer this one. Let's purpose that Blizzard's World of Warcraft had a piece of malware in it that stole the credentials from it's users, just their username and password for their laptop or computer. What would Blizzard do with that information? Would they sell it to malicious people? Keep it to hack into people's bank accounts? No big company, in my humble opinion, would do something like that. It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense for them. Even if they didn't do anything with that information, and rather just sat on it, there would be an outcry from consumers if they ever found out about the malware. Not to mention, all the legal problems they would have would be tremendous.

I wonder if anything malicious caused by something like I mentioned happens, then could it cause the computer to be forever ridden with whatever it caused? Or is that too difficult for an application to cause?

Malware comes in all shapes and sizes, of different intensities and methods. Sometimes all you need is your Windows Defender to kick in and clean up whatever virus you have. Sometimes you get something like a rootkit, which is stored so deep in your computer that the only way to really get rid of it is the nuke it from orbit. This question is really to broad to answer.

If such apps were examined by the best experts, then how likely is it that something goes undetected?

No one is perfect, though if it's examined by "experts(?)", you can probably bet there isn't anything malicious going on. Of course, it always happens that every once and a while something might be missed, but I would say that if someone well versed in security looked at a program and deemed it OK, there is probably a 99% chance that it's going to be just fine.

How can I look for suspicious activity of an app? Can I analyze the thing myself? How reliable can a beginner's analysis (mine) be? Or does it rely more on the tools used?

Sometimes malware is so sneaky that even people that know what they're doing can't find it. That being said, if you notice that your internet is particularly slow as of late, or ads are popping up on your desktop, you'll probably realize something is wrong. But again, big programs or games like these most likely won't have anything suspicious going on.

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  • There was an important portion of my question that was deleted (probably not allowed to mention game names) Another thing I said "big video game title can have the guise of commerce, but be for the same reason the best method to spy on people in big numbers." I'm suspicious of some studios that are making great simulator games that are free to play, seem to have not much in theme/story, and are under globally known malicious authorities. This is not efficiently arguable at all if it's not allowed to say that in the least. Not sure I can make extra comments. There's a character limit.
    – GrassOnion
    Jan 28 '20 at 17:37
  • Well, I mean, that sounds like a similar argument about the government spying on us. It's true, on most free software, you are the product. They are using your information to give you targeted ads-- or sometimes free software is P2W, having in-game purchases where they make their money. But I really sincerely doubt that any game with a large player base, like World of Tanks, is storing your personal information maliciously. Jan 28 '20 at 17:40
  • Thanks for the answer by the way
    – GrassOnion
    Jan 28 '20 at 17:41
  • It's just that I know from first hand experience that the risk can escalate to "police" knocking on your door in some countries.
    – GrassOnion
    Jan 28 '20 at 17:44
  • I can trust Blizzard and the reasons actually are the following: they're not under a malicious authority, they existed before games could be used for malicious reasons like the ones I mentioned and they put a lot of passion in their games in areas like story, themes and art, which I doubt a malicious drive would find efficient or necessary.
    – GrassOnion
    Jan 28 '20 at 17:46

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