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Sometimes, good software can be flagged as malicious... because it's been turned malicious! Pay attention to the source to make sure that you are getting the real thing.

In this question, someone forwarded me a log of their anti-malware tool that basically says the following: "Checking if download is malicious. See the options to disable this. Warning: Someone reported this download is malicious. Stopped." And this is what this person was getting when they tried to download DBan (Darik's Boot and Nuke).

In this excerpt from "Answercast #37, I look at a case where a legitimate program is being flagged as malware. In these cases, you need to watch out for a few things.

DBAN is not malicious

So DBan is certainly not malicious. I suppose it's possible that some anti-malware tool might consider that – its purpose in life is to erase your entire hard disk! – but that's a little far-fetched to me.

What's more likely, and the reason I take this question is that it's possible that you're not downloading DBan from the correct location.

Where you download it...

This is actually true for almost anything you download. It's very important to go to the source. So, for example:

  • For DBan, you would go to dban.org and follow the download links from that site.

If you get the software from somewhere other than the official site, you run the risk of getting that software... and more. And the "more" is sometimes malware.

So it's very possible that the anti-malware tool that you're running is in fact flagging a download as malware because it is. So, the reminder is very simple: Whenever you're downloading software from an online source, make sure you're getting it from the official source, and not some third-party download site.

Official third-party sites

Now, I do want to throw out a caveat that many official sites will redirect you to third-party download sites. That's okay as long as it's the official site telling you where to get the thing officially. That's fine.

But if you're going to some fairly random third-party download site, you're never really quite sure that you're getting the exact thing you should be. So always go to the source.

Next from Answercast 37 – Can I get WiFi from my ISP's DSL connection?

Article C5609 - July 21, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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2 Comments
carol putman
July 21, 2012 10:57 AM

Are you saying Ninite isn't the best alternative? It certainly is convenient when reformatting the hard drive and re-installing a number of necessary programs.

Dan Ullman
July 24, 2012 9:26 AM

"Warning: Someone reported this download is malicious. Stopped."

Sounds like a group sourced tool to me. As such anything it tells you should be taken with a huge grain of salt.

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