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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
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    Hi,

    I have been trying to figure this out for quite a while without success. I have a netbook connected to the internet wirelessly, a notebook connected to the internet wirelessly, and a desktop connected to the internet by hardwire. If my netbook got infected with malware, could that infection spread to my other computers by virtue of the fact that the three computers use the same "internet source/network"? Or will the infection be limited to the netbook? I'll definitely appreciate any guidance you can give me on this.

    Thank you.

    Moon

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Anything is possible with viruses. Do you have all 3 powered on simultaneously? Do you move files between the PCs? Do you have active AV/AM software and a hardware/software firewall on all 3? What OS is installed on the 3 PCs? Win 7 is considered more secure than Vista or XP. Do you use CDs or DVDs on all 3, or simply keep a particular disk for one PC only? How about flash drives?

    Any time you have PCs connected to common routers or use removable media on more than one PC it is possible for viruses to move between them. Think about the issues you have read about where an unprotected PC starts sending emails to everyone in their address book that includes the virus. This is exactly what can happen betweeen your PCs. That is why it is so important to take your PC security seriously on all your PCs.
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    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Hello Moon,

    If one computer on a network becomes infected, then the others are at risk as well. The risk is reduced to the others on your network though if you use a software firewall on each computer. The router's hardware firewall helps to protect all the computers behind the firewall, and the software firewall on each PC helps to protect each machine inside the firewall perimeter.

    Check out these recent forum threads in Sec. & Backups - this one here (http://lounge.windowssecrets.com/ind...1&#entry858980) and this one here (http://lounge.windowssecrets.com/ind...firewalls&st=0)

    It is all about risk reduction. As Ted pointed out, you are at risk by doing what comes natural in a home network environment. And you are at risk simply because the computers are interconnected.

    Ted, look who had slower fingers this morning!
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Gerald, I guess my typing is faster this morning.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  5. #5
    Gold Lounger Roderunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Shepard View Post
    The risk is reduced to the others on your network though if you use a software firewall on each computer.
    Every PC should be treated as an individual entity regardlessly of how it connects.
    O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!

  6. #6
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moon1130 View Post
    I have been trying to figure this out for quite a while without success. I have a netbook connected to the internet wirelessly, a notebook connected to the internet wirelessly, and a desktop connected to the internet by hardwire. If my netbook got infected with malware, could that infection spread to my other computers by virtue of the fact that the three computers use the same "internet source/network"? Or will the infection be limited to the netbook?
    "It depends."

    Some malware can spread by infecting shared folders, so if you might want to avoid sharing any folders between your devices. If you have one PC designated as the server, you would want to be very protective of access to its hard drive.

    Some malware tries multiple ways to connect to other devices on the local network. I will assume you have some firewall software on your computers. This often can be configured to treat your local router either as a local network or as the internet; the latter is more restrictive of incoming traffic. Unless you need your devices to share resources, I recommend using the more secure setting. If you need to share a printer, see whether you can limit external access to everything else.

    If each device is basically closed off to the others, there may still be a possibility of an infected device listening in on communications from your other devices, which may be a privacy risk. It also may open itself to traffic from the internet, slowing access for your other devices. Either way, removing the infected device should resolve those issues.

    In the above, I've ignored the scenario that your infected device corrupts your router. (It is very unlikely that your master password for your router is stored on one of your devices, and assuming you changed it from the factory default and keep its firmware up to date, then there's only a small chance that you can't trust your router.)

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger
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    The risk is reduced to the others on your network though if you use a software firewall on each computer.
    This is somewhat true. Most software firewalls by default make the local subnet a trusted network and allow any connections between computers on this subnet. Most of us do not have the skill to turn this off and then allow only the connections we need with specific firewall rules. As long as you have shared drives the computers that have these shares are susceptible to internetwork infection through these shares.

    In a corporate setting we attempt to limit workstation to workstation shares (also known as peer to peer) as much as possible. We try to maintain all our shares on servers and so have a limited number of possible infection points. In a home network setting the same can be achieved by limiting all the shares to one machine or a NAS and NOT sharing all drives and for sure not the root of the drives.

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