Is this computer truly clean and malware free?

Discussion in 'other anti-malware software' started by roark37, Aug 16, 2006.

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  1. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    I have run online virus scans from Kaspersky, Bitdefender, & Panda Activescan. Then online trojan/spyware scans from Ewido & Asquared. And also spyware scans from Superantispyware, Ad-Aware, & Spybot. All came up with no hits at all, nothing. I then read about rootkits and the difficulties in detecting them so I ran Blacklight beta from F-Secure. Same as the other scanners and nothing malicious was found. Does this mean my computer is really malware free? If this was your computer or you were advising someone how confident would you be based on this that there was nothing malicious. Or is it possible that all these scanners could have missed something? I will assume that nothing is foolproof so it must be possible but then my question would be how likely? Is it extremely unlikely with all these coming up with nothing that you could still have malware? And is there anything else that could be run to check further? What would you recommend additionally if anything? Or is reformatting and reinstalling windows really the only option to be sure?

    The more general questions were the effectiveness of scanners, whether online or not, in detection. I have read about various scanners problems with false positives but what about the opposite, not detecting malware that is there. Other than rootkits are there other types of malware that can go undetected by the best scanners? Or can the results of these scanners be considered trustworthy?

    Thank you.

    roark37
     
  2. kdm31091

    kdm31091 Registered Member

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    With all those scanners finding nothing I would say probably no malware. It is definetly extremely unlikely.


    They could have all missed something - but it's very remote chance. I'd consider at least Bitdefender, Panda, etc trustworthy, with Ad-Aware and Spybot being somewhat behind that. But if they all detected zip, there probably is zip.
     
  3. Gigabyte

    Gigabyte Registered Member

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    I would try the scan from Trendmicro also. It found things the others didn't on my computer.
    http://housecall.trendmicro.com/ I have Panda IS 2006 and I rarely get anything on scans,but some things do get through.
     
  4. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Hi roark37,

    Did something happen to make you suspicious that your computer may have malware on it?

    Reading about all this can be scary. But just like the tv news, it is really not as bad as it is hyped up to be.
    If one learns and practices safe hex (operating the computer safely), you can avoid the vast majority of malware that goes around.

    Yes, most likely it is clean. But there is no such thing as 100% security.

    It would depend on my previous security practices. If I did lots of risky things (install all kinds of free screen savers, p2p, porn, pirated software, open email attachments, etc.) then I would be less sure.
    I am safe user, so I would be confident that it is clean. Unless there was something that raised my suspicion or I had a lapse in regular security practices.

    Yes, it is possible, there are custom modifed trojans and what not, but it's unlikely.

    From this question it seems like you did have some malware on the computer. Some malware can be difficult to remove and be persistant. Do you know what the malware name was? If yes, then you probably need to visit one of the HiJack This forums where experts at removing malware can assist you to clean the computer. If no malware was detected by all the scans then I would say it is unlikely.

    Sysinternals has the rootkit revealer, and some say it is the easier to use out of the anti-rootkit programs, but I don't have much experience with it.

    Well yes, but even then each new program you install or start, each website you visit, might be a source of infection. And even if you practice safe hex, then someone else who uses your computer (kids, teens, spouse) may have lax security practices and create opportunities for malware. It's really important that everyone who uses a computer learn safe hex, but it is also easy to go overboard and do too much for threats that are extremely unlikely.

    I would say the results are generally trustworthy. There are still ocassional false positives, but that is why it is good to confirm the detected item with multiple scanners (one at a time).
    It is possible for a custom modified trojan or other malware to bypass the anti-malware signature scanners, just take a look at TNT's recent thread here at Wilder's. Some of the better scanners have heuristics that supposedly can pick up on malware behavior rather than a static signature. 100% effective? not always as shown by TNT's thread.

    The best thing you can do is learn safe computer practices, what the major threats are, and the ways to protect against them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2006
  5. kdm31091

    kdm31091 Registered Member

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    Just an important note about Rootkit Revealer - it's a great product but be careful. Make sure you Google the suspected stuff, etc, find out about it. Rootkit Revealer won't remove anything, only detect. You'll need a different program to remove it.
     
  6. roark37

    roark37 Registered Member

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    First, thank you to all for your replies.

    I have never had any malware on this computer and I have had it for a little over two years. So its not that I really suspect anything but just want to better understand the usefulness and thoroughness of scanners. I would consider myself a pretty safe user as far I understand it. I've never done any of the music sharing, I almost never download or try new software, and I don't use outlook but rather web based email and I delete all emails without viewing from anyone I don't know. I also use Firefox and only use IE when its absolutely necessary. I felt stronger on the virus/trojan side as I have never noticed anything that would cause me to suspect serious trouble but I was less sure of spyware. In fact I was considering a free scan from Spysweeper as well but am not sure if that would be of any real benefit.

    As far as the recommendation for Trend Micro Housecall that was the first scanner I tried but I can't get it to work. It just gets hung up and stuck. I have read of others having the same problem. I don't know if anything can be done about it.

    I have considered Rootkit Revealer and probably will try it but I am hesitant as i doubt I have the ability to decipher the results if anything unusual is found. I probably will run it though and just post any questions in their forum as they recommend.

    Thanks again for your comments.

    roark37
     
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