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Questions tagged [malware]

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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182 votes
11 answers
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Help! My home PC has been infected by a virus! What do I do now?

This is an attempt to ask a canonical question as discussed in this old meta post. The goal is to create something helpful that can be used as a duplicate when non experts ask about virus infections. ...
Anders's user avatar
  • 65.7k
179 votes
10 answers
204k views

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 virus ...
T. Webster's user avatar
  • 2,379
166 votes
10 answers
26k 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 ...
Polynomial's user avatar
  • 135k
71 votes
5 answers
99k views

Does a Virtual Machine stop malware from doing harm?

I would like to know if it is safe 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? ...
Martin Thoma's user avatar
  • 3,932
46 votes
3 answers
127k 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 >> ...
Pacerier's user avatar
  • 3,333
50 votes
9 answers
57k 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 ...
Strapakowsky's user avatar
  • 3,089
28 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is there a real possibility of getting malware by “drive-by”?

I know malware can be gotten by downloading and running stuff, but is there a real possibility of just viewing a webpage or clicking a link and getting one? Assuming using only Firefox / Chrome and ...
Startup1's user avatar
  • 383
163 votes
5 answers
26k 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, ...
TheHidden's user avatar
  • 4,345
62 votes
11 answers
113k views

How to safely view a malicious PDF?

I have a PDF with important information that may contain malware. What would be the best way to view it?
user avatar
251 votes
10 answers
83k views

How is the "WannaCry" Malware spreading and how should users defend themselves from it?

There's a new strain of attacks which is affecting a lot of systems around the world (including the NHS in the UK and Telefonica in Spain) which is being called "WannaCry" amongst other names. It ...
Rory McCune's user avatar
  • 62.5k
87 votes
3 answers
307k views

Can a PDF file contain a virus?

Could a PDF file contain any type of malware?
user avatar
130 votes
11 answers
75k 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 ...
200_success's user avatar
  • 2,144
47 votes
3 answers
7k views

Help! Ransomware encrypted my files. What do I do now?

I just discovered that my files have been encrypted by ransomware. Can I get my files back? How? Should I pay the ransom? What should I do so that this never happens again?
Anders's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
2k views

What are ways I can analyze malware in an infected machine, not just clean it?

I often run into infected devices in my environment and would like to learn more about the specific infections that have gotten in. What are the best tools and techniques I could use to do this? I ...
user3622268's user avatar
55 votes
11 answers
48k views

Can headphones transmit malware?

Can headphones transmit malware? My friend borrowed my headphones (a pair of Apple EarPods) and plugged them into his Android mobile phone for a few minutes in order to listen to a voice message. ...
tonychow0929's user avatar
  • 2,257
40 votes
6 answers
13k views

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 ...
Peter Horniak's user avatar
39 votes
6 answers
79k views

How do I safely inspect a suspicious email attachment?

I received a pretty blatantly spammy email to my Gmail account. Attached to the email is a supposed HTML file. My first hunch was that it was probably one of the following: A nasty executable file ...
lsdfapoinsafpr's user avatar
17 votes
7 answers
12k views

Finding a specific malware sample for malware analysis purposes

I wish to analyze the changes made by a specific virus. For example, Win32.Sality. Where can I get the sample of this, or other similar, malware for testing?
Rajan's user avatar
  • 171
7 votes
4 answers
28k views

What does this malicious PHP script do? [closed]

Somebody hacked my site and uploaded this script (template46.php) to my webroot and its content is: <?php $vIIJ30Y = Array('1'=>'F', '0'=>'j', '3'=>'s', '2'=>'l', '5'=>'M', '4'=>'...
kenorb's user avatar
  • 819
159 votes
14 answers
19k views

What is the safest way to deal with loads of incoming PDF files, some of which could potentially be malicious?

As an investigative journalist I receive each day dozens of messages, many of which contain PDF documents. But I'm worried about some of the potentially malicious consequences of blindly opening them ...
Tom the journalist's user avatar
62 votes
7 answers
10k views

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 ...
Erik's user avatar
  • 1,065
57 votes
4 answers
5k views

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 ...
Rory McCune's user avatar
  • 62.5k
34 votes
3 answers
11k views

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 ...
Stone True's user avatar
  • 2,052
21 votes
8 answers
5k views

Best practices for handling computer viruses

I realize this question may be quite broad (and hopefully not a violation of the FAQs), but I'm interested in hearing how many of you handle a computer infected with Malware. In a small-to-medium ...
DKNUCKLES's user avatar
  • 9,217
21 votes
8 answers
53k views

Is it safe to use virtual machines when examining malware?

We want to study for the CEH program and have downloaded 12 DVDs that 6 DVDs are software key-loggers, Trojans, etc. that are all detected by antivirus. This prevents us from examining them and ...
saber tabatabaee yazdi's user avatar
20 votes
6 answers
5k views

How is a worm different from a virus?

In spite of various online articles, I'm a bit unclear on the distinction between a "worm" and a "virus". Two related questions-- Is there a useful and clear distinction here or no? If so, what is ...
DuckMaestro's user avatar
10 votes
7 answers
10k views

Difference between virus and trojan?

To my current understanding: A virus is a program that does not self replicate and relies on the host file being spread. It has malicious intent. A trojan is a program that is run by deceiving the ...
Lenard's user avatar
  • 109
3 votes
2 answers
463 views

Unambiguous terminology for different kinds of malware?

I noticed in the literatures that there are no exact boundaries for numerous information security terms such as malware, virus, etc. Some people say malware i the umbrella under which viruses, worms, ...
NuminousName's user avatar
197 votes
10 answers
36k views

Search for military installed backdoors on laptop

My laptop was confiscated by the military institute of my country and they made me to give them all my passwords (I cannot tell you the name of my country). They did not give it back to me for one ...
Posse's user avatar
  • 1,811
117 votes
10 answers
21k views

Alternatives to anti-virus for keeping oneself safe

I have read a lot of articles that talk about how using an AV is less safe than not having one for more intermediate PC users who are careful with what they click and download. For example, here are ...
delacroix's user avatar
  • 1,053
53 votes
4 answers
151k views

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 ...
JohnnyFromBF's user avatar
  • 1,433
23 votes
6 answers
3k views

What are the security implications of people downloading addons, wrongly thinking that they are safe?

I recently learned about a plugin for Firefox called Fire Sheep, which was featured on the Security Now podcast. I downloaded F.S. and began examining it. To my surprise it includes C++ code that must ...
Snuffles's user avatar
  • 231
18 votes
6 answers
3k views

Methods of mitigating threats from keyloggers

I am concerned about keyloggers being installed on my system and transmitting sensitive data out of our network. Is there a common method that such malware uses to send its collection back to the ...
Paul S.'s user avatar
  • 375
17 votes
3 answers
5k views

Router being infected by malware

If you connect a computer that is infected with malware (the government grade, kernel infecting, extremely persistent, easily spreadable kind) to a router or modem, can the router or modem or its ...
Bob Ogden's user avatar
  • 349
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Kaspersky Antivirus "secure connection scan" as broken as Superfish?

I've read a lot about Superfish (and similar ad-ware) lately and I basically understand the vulnerability to MITM attacks. But I'm actually wondering if the "secure connection scan" by Kaspersky ...
mrclschstr's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why should I restrict the content type of files be uploaded to my site?

We are building an application where users can upload resumes in our system for our administrators to download. We are having a debate about restricting the content type of the files that can be ...
Andy's user avatar
  • 535
91 votes
7 answers
54k views

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 desktop ...
dotancohen's user avatar
  • 3,736
37 votes
4 answers
20k views

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, ...
D.W.'s user avatar
  • 100k
34 votes
4 answers
12k views

Which security measures does PyPI and similar third-party software repositories take?

PyPI is a third-party software repository for Python packages. Everybody can upload packages to it (see The Python Package Index (PyPI)). How does PyPI prevent people from uploading malware? When I ...
Martin Thoma's user avatar
  • 3,932
22 votes
4 answers
7k views

Malwares source repositories. Where? [closed]

As the best way to learn is to read the code, do you know where I can find malware/virus/whatever source code to read?
gbr's user avatar
  • 2,020
21 votes
2 answers
5k views

Do the most common ransomware programs delete the original files as they go, or in a big bulk delete at the very end?

I'm talking about the most common varieties like Cryptolocker, Cryptowall, Torrentlocker, KeRanger, RSA4096, etc. (There is not necessarily a need to answer for all of these, one or two may do.) If ...
Fiksdal's user avatar
  • 3,117
19 votes
4 answers
2k views

Unknown malware, how to report it and whom to report it to?

I'm a professional Windows system administrator, but I've been caught off-guard (or maybe some malware writer has been very clever) and I caught some unknown malware on my home computer (Windows 7 x64 ...
Massimo's user avatar
  • 721
18 votes
5 answers
12k views

Detecting malware-infected USB drives

I'm about to distribute some relatively cheap promotional usb drives to some of my company's clients. I'm fairly confident the company I purchased them from wouldn't intentionally implant malware on ...
Myer's user avatar
  • 279
18 votes
3 answers
6k views

Can a guest virtual machine be compromised by a virus on the host machine?

All questions ask about the other way round, ie. can a virtual machine compromise the host. But I'm asking can a virus on the host machine compromise the guest virtual machine?
VirtualMachine's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
634 views

Drive-by downloads

I am aware of the problem of drive-by downloads, which happens when one visits a malicious site and a malware is downloaded to the PC. I want to ask that when such a program is downloaded, how does it ...
Jake's user avatar
  • 1,095
46 votes
5 answers
87k views

How to scan a PDF for malware? [closed]

Can anyone suggest an automated tool to scan a PDF file to determine whether it might contain malware or other "bad stuff"? Or, alternatively, assigns a risk level to the PDF? I would prefer a free ...
D.W.'s user avatar
  • 100k
32 votes
6 answers
9k views

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 e-...
Stone True's user avatar
  • 2,052
32 votes
3 answers
5k 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 ...
Harry's user avatar
  • 841
30 votes
6 answers
15k 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. ...
hamena314's user avatar
  • 2,037
19 votes
2 answers
7k views

Effectiveness of flattening a PDF to remove malware

I'm currently looking at ways to prevent malicious PDF files at the network boundary. This will include virus scanning - but there are known limitations to that. I see a common approach is to flatten ...
symcbean's user avatar
  • 18.7k

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