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Windows 7: Can Malware damage to the files existing on the host?


06 Jun 2014   #1

windows 7 32-bit
 
 
Can Malware damage to the files existing on the host?

Hello guys,

I'm somewhat aware of Malware and their actions. And also know how to get rid of them and clean the machine.

And about the Malware, we all know that Malware can spread in the form of a Worm or a Virus. Viruses are Malware that require some form of user interaction to infect the user's device. On the other hand, Worms are Malware that can enter a device without any explicit user interaction.

OK, my question:
Can Malware damage to our files? For example consider I have various kinds of files, from a simple .MP3 file until .iso, .xlsx, .exe or programming files and etc.
Can those Malware damage those files so that they aren't usable or repairable?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Jun 2014   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Quote:
Can Malware damage to our files? For example consider I have various kinds of files, from a simple .MP3 file until .iso, .xlsx, .exe or programming files and etc.
Can those Malware damage those files so that they aren't usable or repairable?
It certainly can. For that reason, among others, you always need at least one backup copy of important files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jun 2014   #3

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

The last major malware that I cleaned up after deleted every file that a user would normally open: It put itself in place of those deleted files.

.doc, .xls, .ppt, .txt, jpg, pdf... files were all gone.
The files had to be restored from my backups for that user.

Here is a PDF that you can skim thru for more info about what the various names of bad files mean. However (as pointed out in that PDF) people do not agree on the definitions for what a virus is or what it does.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Jun 2014   #4

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I will put in a simple way.
The infection what ever it is called can do anything it is coded to do if it can find access.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jun 2014   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Modern malware is very sophisticated. It has to be if it is to remain hidden from sophisticated software specifically designed to locate malware. Some malware has a form of automatic update to update itself when the author releases a newer version. To maintain and hide it's presence malware needs the ability to modify system files, and it must do so in such a way they are still able to function. That is hard. Very hard.

Once you are able to do that, everything else is easy. What malware can do is limited only by the knowledge, skill, and imagination of it's authors. And the mere fact of it's existence shows that the authors have all of these things to a very high degree. The location and destruction of user files is child's play in comparison.

Not all malware destroys user files but this is by choice, not a lack of ability. Malware can be use for a wide variety of purposes that require it to keep a low profile. Destructive behavior would be counter productive to it's purposes. In some cases if the computer owner was aware of the malware and what it was doing they might wish it was destructive. In that way they would at least be aware of it's presence and could so something about it.

Some malware continues it's work for years without ever being detected. In many cases it finally ceases to function only when the computer is taken out of service.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jun 2014   #6

windows 7 32-bit
 
 

@Layback Bear: Thank you for your answer. It was brief and useful which indicates the essence of the topic.

@UsernameIssues: Thanks to you also. your answer is fine and it indicated the facts which were done. But the PDF file is not easily readable (because of the line, color, font, ..) but I completely appreciate you for helping me mate.

@LMiller7: Your explanations are Excellent. Very good. Thank you.
Could you please say how you try to keep your machine (say, a Windows 7 one) safe. I want to do what you are doing!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jun 2014   #7

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

You have done the first stage; learning and asking questions.

Keeping everything updated is also important. I keep my security programs updated several times a day manually. Some choose automatic updates.
Keeping yourself Updated also helps.
Reading the Security Section News on this Forum can be very helpful.

I don't use and never have any P2P or Torrents. It's one of the best ways to get infected.
Being very careful of add-ons when downloading a program that you have chose to try.
Also checking for other programs updates often.
I use FileHippo Updater for that.

FileHippo.com - Download Free Software


Keeping away from anything from IObit.
Keeping away from any tuneup, speedup ect. programs until you ask here first. On the whole Windows 7 doesn't want or need tuned up by any programs. Some times such programs will cause more damage than a infection.

I do scans often even when things seem normal. Some infections hide very well and try to do their nasty things without upsetting the owner/operator.
Many so called security programs found on line are actually programs to infect your computer.
Please ask here first.

What security programs is always a highly discussed subject. Their is no one program that does it all 100% of the time or we would all be using it.
A multi layered protection method I believe is best.
This is what I use on my systems actively.

Micorsoft Security Essentials.
Malwarebytes Anti Malware Pro
Built in Windows 7 Firewall
I use on demand Super Anti Spyware
At times I also like to use Eset free Online Scanner.
Keep in mind that security programs not only has a job of protection it must work well with Windows 7 or you will have loads of problems.

Again Reading through our section on Security you will learn a lot more.

To sum it up simply.

Keep yourself informed and be thoughtful when using your computer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2014   #8

windows 7 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
This is what I use on my systems actively.

Micorsoft Security Essentials.
Malwarebytes Anti Malware Pro
Built in Windows 7 Firewall
I use on demand Super Anti Spyware
At times I also like to use Eset free Online Scanner.
Thank you for your explanations.
One question, do you use more that one Anti-malware on your system at the same time!?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2014   #9

Win 7 Pro x64 SP1, Win 7 Ult x86 SP1
 
 

I'll add a couple of programs I use to Layback Bear's list.

WinPatrol checks for system changes.
I don't recommend or install this for people I help as it does have more Popup messages that would confuse some folks.
I like it because I want to know when these changes are made.
If you use it, you have to pay attention to the messages and make a decision ...

Quote:
What Does WinPatrol Do?
The popularity of WinPatrol is based on its ability to detect and prevent changes to important Windows settings. Youíll be notified if unwanted programs are set to automatically run, if a toolbar has been added to Internet Explorer, if your home page, search provider or other internal configurations change. When a new Service or ActiveX component is detected it may be part of a legitimate program. WinPatrol will make sure and if it isnít, you can tell WinPatrol to disable it.
Just adding a program wonít cause a notification but when a program is configured to run without your knowledge, WinPatrol will let you confirm the change is expected.
Source: WinPatrol- Your Money Back if you're not Happy

There is a free version.

Secunia PSI
There is some overlap in this and what FileHippo reports, but PSI does not really check for Program Updates.
It checks for missing security patches and end of life programs.
I use both Secunia PSI and FileHippo UpdateChecker.
I prefer PSI 2.0, not the latest version (PSI 3.0).
PSI 2.0 is available here - on the right side of the page as an older version:
https://secunia.com/products/consumer/PSI/sys_req/

For Anti-Malware I use MalwareBytes Premium (Paid/real-time) on all my systems in addition to a real-time Anti-Virus program.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2014   #10

windows 7 32-bit
 
 

Thank you for the suggestions.
About your last line: you use MalwareBytes AV with another AV (say, eset, KIS) simultaneously on a system?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Can Malware damage to the files existing on the host?




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