Common questions about computer viruses

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14 Replies - 3961 Views - Last Post: 04 February 2009 - 11:50 AM

#1 qaz1134   User is offline

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Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 05 October 2008 - 12:22 AM

OK guys i am doing a survey on computer viruses
i have picked several familiar and common questions about it ..
i hope for your cooperation...
and thank you so much in advance...
here it is... ^_^

1. Can I avoid viruses by avoiding shareware, free software or games?

2. Can an antivirus program itself be infected?

4. What steps should be taken in diagnosing and identifying viruses?

5. What kind of files can spread viruses?

6. is spyware somehow related to computer viruses?

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Replies To: Common questions about computer viruses

#2 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 05 October 2008 - 12:39 AM

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 03:22 AM, said:

1. Can I avoid viruses by avoiding shareware, free software or games?

It'll help, however there is no silver bullet to prevent you from getting viruses. Meaning there is no one single action that can guarantee you immunity.

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 03:22 AM, said:

2. Can an antivirus program itself be infected?

Yes. Some viruses will target popular anti virus programs & try to either disable them, or hide from them.

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 03:22 AM, said:

4. What steps should be taken in diagnosing and identifying viruses?

Scan the windows registry for runonce entries.
Look in msconfig for anything launching a run32.dll. A legitimate program will not launch this way.
Monitor your task manager (taskmgr) & look for unrecognized processes.

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 03:22 AM, said:

5. What kind of files can spread viruses?

Any file that can execute. exe, com, vbs

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 03:22 AM, said:

6. is spyware somehow related to computer viruses?

No. Spyware will target the host & collect data. A virus is a program that self replicates.

Btw, you are missing a question for #3.
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#3 Hary   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 05 October 2008 - 03:23 AM

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 12:22 AM, said:

1. Can I avoid viruses by avoiding shareware, free software or games?


No, vulnerabilities in non-free software still enable viri. Take for example the famous Sasser virus (/worm), you just need Windows... Which is certainly not shareware or free.

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 12:22 AM, said:

2. Can an antivirus program itself be infected?


Any kind of code can be 'highjacked' to transpost malicious code. Even worse: some publishers try to sell you anti-virus programs in popup, but they are worms itself (scareware)

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 12:22 AM, said:

4. What steps should be taken in diagnosing and identifying viruses?


In addition to no2pencil, which are good things to see problems yourself: install a decent anti-virus, which has proven to be quite a good one (use known sources over the internet), do not install the first free one you see.

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 12:22 AM, said:

5. What kind of files can spread viruses?


All. Any file can have malious code in it. It just needs to be executed, which can be directly like no2pencil mentions, or indirectly by abusing flaws in other software (Office macro's, Javascript, encrypted zip files where a small piece of the key is executed by the un-zip program, and so on)

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 12:22 AM, said:

6. is spyware somehow related to computer viruses?


This has two answers, depending on the exact definitions you use:
Yes: A virus is a bad piece of software, that abuses security flaws to spread itself and do some stuff. Spyware abuses the weakest spot of the computers nowadays: the end-user. The bad thing this virus does, is noterasing your hard drive but sending privacy sensitive inforamtion to someone else. The spyware also spreads itself.

If you use a smaller definition of a virus, only spreading itself as the main purpuse, then spyware is not a virus, because its primary purpose is retrieving your private information.

However, in 'the old days' all bad code was referred to as 'a virus'. Nowadays large different types have been made, and people have been starting to group them. I still think the term 'virus' is the superclass, of which spyware, trojans, worms and so on are inherit.
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#4 qaz1134   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 05 October 2008 - 04:17 AM

View Postno2pencil, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 12:39 AM, said:

Btw, you are missing a question for #3.

uhm sorry about that
3 how do computer viruses spread.. i prefer not to show it because it is very common others might not get interested...
:D



thank you so much for cooperating
and also to Hary
i really wish i could xomthing for you two :)

This post has been edited by qaz1134: 05 October 2008 - 04:23 AM

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#5 Hary   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 05 October 2008 - 04:19 AM

You could press the 'this post was helpful' button ;)
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#6 nirvanarupali   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 09 October 2008 - 10:52 PM

What if I use Linux or Unix, can I still be infected with a virus?

This post has been edited by nirvanarupali: 09 October 2008 - 10:53 PM

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#7 no2pencil   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 09 October 2008 - 11:04 PM

View Postnirvanarupali, on 10 Oct, 2008 - 01:52 AM, said:

What if I use Linux or Unix, can I still be infected with a virus?

Absolutely. Any binary executable is supseptable to being infected.

Understand that Unix file types cannot be infected by Windows files, because the file system doesn't work that way. it would be like cursing in English to someone whom speaks Chinese. Your intentions would be ill fated, however unaffected!

Also, there is no Registry in Unix/Linux, so there isn't a mass honeypot (so to speak) to serve as a central repository of every piece of software or information for that machine. However, because of the server nature of Unix/Linux, when you do get a virus, it is in my opinion much more devastating. You could be running a spam server, illegal file server, or other illegal activies I don't dare mention, & not even know it!

A harmless example... but an example all the same.
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#8 nirvanarupali   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 13 October 2008 - 06:36 PM

Thanks for the info. I thought only Windows can be infected.
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#9 homemade-jam   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 14 October 2008 - 03:45 AM

Unix and Mac are at the advantage that they aren't used as much as Windoze - hence it is much less profitable for a virus writer to expend time (and money?) on writing a virus for a non-windoze OS when they are likely to only infect upto something like 10% of computer users.

Whatsmore, those that use Linux (more computer literate people) are much less likely of making n00b errors that get you infected.
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#10 Hary   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 14 October 2008 - 04:06 AM

And also: because of the open source nature on *nix, many flaws are detectesd by users and corrected before they are abused by a virus.
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#11 qaz1134   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 27 December 2008 - 09:39 AM

View Posthomemade-jam, on 14 Oct, 2008 - 02:45 AM, said:

Unix and Mac are at the advantage that they aren't used as much as Windoze - hence it is much less profitable for a virus writer to expend time (and money?) on writing a virus for a non-windoze OS when they are likely to only infect upto something like 10% of computer users.

Whatsmore, those that use Linux (more computer literate people) are much less likely of making n00b errors that get you infected.



good point, :^:
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#12 Pwn   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 01 February 2009 - 01:49 PM

Probably the main and/or only reason *nix even sees viruses is because they are servers, and are used to house vital information for businesses. Windows is for people to learn to write viruses, *nix is for professionals, so to speak.
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#13 baavgai   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 01 February 2009 - 02:56 PM

1. No.
2. Yes.
4. Depends on the anti-virus solution you choose.

Before we go any farther... most malware in the world today are not computer viruses. They are largely trojan horses. A true computer virus self propagates using the OS as a host environment. It behaves something like biological virus, in that it needs the material of a viable program (cell) to propagate and cannot do so on its own. The term has become dreadfully muddled over the years.

5. What kind of files can spread viruses? Classically, only a host program. An executable that executes and unwittingly loads the virus as well. A "macro" virus reasonably fits this definition, so any macro running program. Things like email attachments and activex attacks aren't viral; the victim executes them directly.

6. This depends on how the spyware got there. Sometimes it comes with the OS ( thank you, Microsoft.) Sometimes you install it in good faith, not knowing what you're getting ( shame on you Sony and all the rest.) Sometimes spyware is the payload of a virus or trojan.
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#14 SynysterFrank   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 04 February 2009 - 08:04 AM

View Postno2pencil, on 4 Oct, 2008 - 11:39 PM, said:

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 03:22 AM, said:

1. Can I avoid viruses by avoiding shareware, free software or games?

It'll help, however there is no silver bullet to prevent you from getting viruses. Meaning there is no one single action that can guarantee you immunity.

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 03:22 AM, said:

2. Can an antivirus program itself be infected?

Yes. Some viruses will target popular anti virus programs & try to either disable them, or hide from them.

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 03:22 AM, said:

4. What steps should be taken in diagnosing and identifying viruses?

Scan the windows registry for runonce entries.
Look in msconfig for anything launching a run32.dll. A legitimate program will not launch this way.
Monitor your task manager (taskmgr) & look for unrecognized processes.

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 03:22 AM, said:

5. What kind of files can spread viruses?

Any file that can execute. exe, com, vbs

View Postqaz1134, on 5 Oct, 2008 - 03:22 AM, said:

6. is spyware somehow related to computer viruses?

No. Spyware will target the host & collect data. A virus is a program that self replicates.

Btw, you are missing a question for #3.




LMAO!! What happened to question 3??
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#15 jjsaw5   User is offline

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Re: Common questions about computer viruses

Posted 04 February 2009 - 11:50 AM

This really isn't a computer science related question.


Moving to PC Support
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