How EXACTLY are viruses/malware activated? *Mal-ware: Any form of malicious code (virus, trojan, spyware, worm, script etc) Okay. so its "common knowledge" in that viruses / malware can infect your computer by going to the wrong websites or opening an email attachment that contains malware. *this is *Only because your running other programs that will automatically open malicious processes or files that are mal-ware, *THUS activating it "automatically." 1. Mal-ware ONLY can compromise your system *if it has been activated and is running in your memory or whatever. 2. This means that "inactive" Mal-ware can exist on your hard-drive if you have downloaded mal-ware to your hard drive without opening it. (Please correct me If my points 1 & 2 are incorrect) 3. Now, this leads me to the following questions in regards to how to deal with "inactive mal-ware" that exists on your harddrive: A. How Exactly is Mal-ware activated? B. What actions / activities are safe? And which ones will *activate mal-ware? Safe Activities: (Assuming that your explorer doesn't automatically open the file when carrying out the following actions) 1. Moving the file 2. Uploading that file 3. Right clicking on the file and checking its properties 4. Highlighting the file without opening it 5. File proximity: Whether you install a program that is right "next to" the "inactive" malware, or in a seperate folder, the malware will not be able to attach itself to the program *unless it has already been activated. *OR unless if the file has disguised itself as one of the setup files (which it can't do on its own on a clean pc!) Dangerous activities: 1. Opening the file 2. Using a program that opens the file Am I correct in the classifications of these actions / activities? Please correct me of any errors I have stated. Now, I am uncertain about the following activities: Which of the following activites/actions are safe? and which ones can activate the mal-ware? 1. Using programs or functions that analyze your files (including "inactive malware") (Such as CDCheck, or De-fragging, or diskcheck) 2. Changing the "inactive malware's" file property (To Read-Only or Read-able, etc) 3. Changing the File Permission of the "inactive malware" ex: changing the file owner to Admin or LimitedUser etc etc 4. What about running a Windows Search that will search your files including the "inactive malware"? Does any of these actions in fact, activate mal-ware? And which ones are "safe?" Note: 1. I'm assuming that downloading a file, in and of itself, *without opening the file, will not activate mal-ware. For example, if you use P2P, or a web browser to download to c:\Downloaded Files\Virus.exe, that the malware called "Virus.exe" will *only sit there, and will remain harmless until it is activated. Please correct me if I am wrong here. 2. Also, we're assuming that your computer is clean of any other mal-ware that can't activate "inactive" malware that you have downloaded.