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  • Strange warnings

    For over 8 years now I have been converting interesting Emails sent to me to MHT files for uploading to Daily pages of contributions to my site. I often prefer MHT files using MS Word to avoid the need to upload an additional folder containing such as JPGs needed for HTM files The count of visitors to these pages now shows as over 123,600. These contributions often also include PPS Presentations, PDF files and WMV videos etc. I use a fully paid up AVG antivirus and have NEVER received a complaint of a virus involved.

    So I thought I would post a link to a few photos in a MHT of my garden and also to a lovely PPS of beautiful scenery abroad in a gardening Forum run by someone who claims to be an IT expert. But my post was removed because some claimed their strange antivirus was issuing warnings that MHT files are particularly susceptible to attracting a virus. It this really true my AVG never complains of such?

    Also the forum Admin stated they do not like links to any sites apart from Youtube, and I should post photos instead as do others. Yet so far as I could tell the only way to include photos in a posting was by clicking on an icon to insert a URL to say my site. Also one strange, individual claimed he would never risk downloading anything to his PC. He is obviously ignorant to the fact every time you activate your router you can see some data is being downloaded, not to mention emails, umpteen data from any web sites visited like cookies and Windows updates.

  • #2
    Re: Strange warnings

    Originally posted by GordonSweet View Post
    For over 8 years now I have been converting interesting Emails sent to me to MHT files for uploading to Daily pages of contributions to my site. I often prefer MHT files using MS Word to avoid the need to upload an additional folder containing such as JPGs needed for HTM files The count of visitors to these pages now shows as over 123,600. These contributions often also include PPS Presentations, PDF files and WMV videos etc. I use a fully paid up AVG antivirus and have NEVER received a complaint of a virus involved.

    So I thought I would post a link to a few photos in a MHT of my garden and also to a lovely PPS of beautiful scenery abroad in a gardening Forum run by someone who claims to be an IT expert. But my post was removed because some claimed their strange antivirus was issuing warnings that MHT files are particularly susceptible to attracting a virus. It this really true my AVG never complains of such?

    Also the forum Admin stated they do not like links to any sites apart from Youtube, and I should post photos instead as do others. Yet so far as I could tell the only way to include photos in a posting was by clicking on an icon to insert a URL to say my site. Also one strange, individual claimed he would never risk downloading anything to his PC. He is obviously ignorant to the fact every time you activate your router you can see some data is being downloaded, not to mention emails, umpteen data from any web sites visited like cookies and Windows updates.
    Is there a question in there somewhere??

    As you will know AV scanners are not 100% fool proof and false positives do occur.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Strange warnings

      Thanks. What I am really asking is are MHT files really any more vulnerable to attracting a virus than other files?

      Also are the Admin of the Gardening site being too careful blocking links to PPS files?

      Since you have to insert a URL to any site in order to include a JPG to a posting is that not just as risky?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Strange warnings

        I think the point is that the MHT is a compiled HTML file that may include scripts, therefore the AV is flagging it a a potential risk. Opening the file would run the scripts if there are any, and without opening it there is no way for a user to check if it is safe.

        JPGs/GIFs on the other hand will not run, but can only be opened in another application, so are much safer (not the same as exes pretending to be jpgs in most spam emails)

        PPS (power point slide shows) could have macro viruses in them too, so again "safety first"

        This is the same as us asking posters to use txt files for scripts etc - they can be opened safely and examined, where a archive or office doc might run something nasty when being opened
        Tom Jones
        MCT, MCSE (2000:Security & 2003), MCSA:Security & Messaging, MCDBA, MCDST, MCITP(EA, EMA, SA, EDA, ES, CS), MCTS, MCP, Sec+
        PhD, MSc, FIAP, MIITT
        IT Trainer / Consultant
        Ossian Ltd
        Scotland

        ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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        • #5
          Re: Strange warnings

          The warnings are antivirus scare-mongering. The anti-virus program is making a dumb assumption - any file that may potentially be infectable will be flagged. What's the point?

          It's a shame that the people who complained did not actually scan the files to determine the fact that they are (presumably) not infected.

          Rant rant rant
          A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Strange warnings

            I use a fully paid AVG to for 3 PCs.

            Could it be those using some cheap or free versions of antivirus, perhaps providing few updates often cannot detect if a virus is present. So as you posted they just issue a general warning on say MHT files stating they could sometimes contain a virus.

            Which makes you wonder why such people why the ever bother to use the Internet at all.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Strange warnings

              Either that or they are seeing a browser warning about files that can 'harm your computer'. I'm not familiar with many AV programs so do not know what they may do. Rather than take an intelligent stance and looking at the context and the content the people are erring on the side of caution and refusing to download them/declaring they are dangerous.

              It's quite infuriating. I installed Comodo on my lad's laptop. He recently managed to lock himself out of it. I mean that he was unable to start programs, add/remove programs etc. It was unusable. He was using Defence +. This is probably the worst behavioural 'analysis' program I have seen. It screams blue murder as soon as a program attempts to access parts of the operating system during the installation routine. Ahem. What? Because he did not understand what he was being asked, and because the alerts that Defence + generates are not intelligent he effectively blocked access. As soon as I uninstalled it the laptop functioned perfectly. Behavioural analysis should be intelligent and be able to recognise legitimate access vs illegitimate access. Something that Defence + cannot do.

              This 'dumb' alerting results in massive FUD which encourages ignorance and discourages people from enjoying technology.

              Man, I'm on a ranting roll today. Sorry

              I should add that these opinions/observations are my own.
              A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Strange warnings

                Originally posted by Blood View Post
                The warnings are antivirus scare-mongering. The anti-virus program is making a dumb assumption - any file that may potentially be infectable will be flagged. What's the point?
                You're not quite grasping the concept behind AV then if you think it is "scaremongering". The software is looking for specific things in files that have previously been flagged as a virus, whether it be script or whatever. The AV scanner is literally doing what it is told and looking for these potential issues.

                Originally posted by Blood View Post
                It's a shame that the people who complained did not actually scan the files to determine the fact that they are (presumably) not infected.

                Rant rant rant
                So what your saying by that comment is that even though your AV scanner has told you it could possibly be infected you would still run the risk of downloading said file and scanning it to determine what is actually wrong with it? Very risky business if you are.

                I have done this in a sandbox environment whereby the files I've checked, be it infected or not, are run in a segregated environment then if required packaged and sent to an AV vendor.

                If we had to trust everyone on the internet not to infect us we'd be stupid and i'd rather have these false positives than not. That way I know my AV scanner is actually working

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Strange warnings

                  Originally posted by wullieb1 View Post
                  You're not quite grasping the concept behind AV then if you think it is "scaremongering". The software is looking for specific things in files that have previously been flagged as a virus, whether it be script or whatever. The AV scanner is literally doing what it is told and looking for these potential issues.



                  So what your saying by that comment is that even though your AV scanner has told you it could possibly be infected you would still run the risk of downloading said file and scanning it to determine what is actually wrong with it? Very risky business if you are.

                  I have done this in a sandbox environment whereby the files I've checked, be it infected or not, are run in a segregated environment then if required packaged and sent to an AV vendor.

                  If we had to trust everyone on the internet not to infect us we'd be stupid and i'd rather have these false positives than not. That way I know my AV scanner is actually working
                  I was ranting.

                  I do understand the risks and would never download anything that would risk the network. I fully understand what a professional antivirus program will do and how it protects you. My point is that I have seen programs that use scare-mongering techniques and which are not intelligent. They are over-the-top. This, in my opinion, leads to a dumbing-down of the people that have been unfortunate enough to use them. Anyone who does not understand how the system works and who are not at all technically minded are blinded by these alerts and are not, therefore, encouraged to learn the risks and to weigh them up properly.

                  These risks run from knowing when you are downloading a genuine file that you asked for (an .exe for example) to potentially spurious content from a file-sharing site. Whenever I have downloaded files from, for example, Mediafire or Dropbox I have always checked them with an AV scanner before opening them.

                  We have both checked them instead of refusing to download them at all.

                  I'm sorry - I was ranting and should have thought more carefully about my responses.
                  A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Strange warnings

                    I had a similar problem with Avast resulting in me having to uninstall it long before the sub ran out and losing money. I suddenly kept issuing false Heuristic warnings for all my Freeware compiled with the very reputable http://www.bbcbasic.co.uk/ This is why I now use AVG.

                    I knew the warnings were false because as you can see from my site umpteen well know distributors are willing to host my efforts after very thorough testing. The creator of BBC4W does have a way of overcoming the false Avast warnings, but at the time it only worked for a short while.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Strange warnings

                      And that is my point. Software should be able to tell the difference between legitimate software and malware. AV usually 'pre-runs' the software to see what it does before handing it over to the user. Heuristics should be able to determine the difference between malicious and legitimate behaviour.
                      A recent poll suggests that 6 out of 7 dwarfs are not happy

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Strange warnings

                        We, the organisation I think I am still employed in, have several tools written inhouse to help automate several procedures. Most of these tools are detected as possessing a "malicious" content of some sort, ergo they are displaying false positives.

                        Gordon, just because you have a paid version of an A/V program doesn't make it any better at detecting a virus than the free version. I have stopped using AVG as went all stupid when it introduced the stupid "ribbon" toolbar. I do however run MSE and rather stupidly run my account with Administrator credentials. I have yet to contract a virus (must be the antibiotics I take). If I do have a really suspect file, it gets copied into a VM and opened there. If it is isn't friendly, the VM gets nuked and a new one replaces it. Sometimes a little knowledge is advantageous. Usually if it is suspect and doesn't appear to contain anything I want, the DELETE key will repair the situation.

                        Don't forget that these sites you are posting on may not know you and that you have a safe file to upload. Sometimes these sites are hosted by Admins who have been badly bitten before or like me posses a little knowledge but are very dangerous instead. Click image for larger version

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Views:	2
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ID:	466800
                        1 1 was a racehorse.
                        2 2 was 1 2.
                        1 1 1 1 race 1 day,
                        2 2 1 1 2

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