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Can you get media files off an external drive that might have a virus

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August 2, 2011 6:33:56 AM

Hello,
I believe my home network had a botnet (?) Why? Firstly my desktop started doing strange things eg, mouse control wasn't good and I though I had a virus orsome kind of malware. Eventually the infection spread to my notebook and a friends notebook. The spread through the network was the first reason I thought it was a botnet with possible ketlogging and I don't doubt, eventual DDoS attacks would have happened. The security software, firewalls, spybot searchers etc were all at some stage switched off (on more than one occassion. Registry entries were deleted eg, entire user profiles and on and on. Both notebooks are up and running but I am very concerned that my back-ups are infected. Its mostly the music, photo, video files I would like to get back but there are also important docs,pdfs etc on the external backup. If i scan the back-up drive and download files one by one or in small batches, sandboxing them,do you think I can recover them? Can mp3, wav, AAC,mp4, & other music files bring this monster bug back? What about static images eg, photo.raw, jpeg, gif, tif, png, and many more file types, hide this thing. Biggest concern is video and movies. There are some video files that I can not lose, only a few. The rest I don't care. I'd like to get some documents, especially some pdfs off I I could but I guess when it comes down to it its the photos and that small amount of video that I just can't lose. The funny thing is (yeah hillarious right) I have at least four back-ups of these files bujt they will all have the same malware/botnet on them. I was just thing that downloading into a sandbox individual files (making a much smaller transfer) might prevent the same catastrophe from happening again. It's not something I ever want to go through again. The only good thing to come out of it was that I decided to completely rebuild and update my desktop with an Intel 2nd generation processor! Hope you have some suggestions otherwise I'm in huge trouble. I'm not hugely tech minded but i can usually follow directions and find my way around with a little help and my dumb questions. Cheers, Mink.

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August 2, 2011 6:11:10 PM

If you are using a new system, that's a good start...

However, if you're using the same operating system as before, any files that you open or run from the old drives *may* re-install the virus you had into your new system. So... you should be safe plugging in the old drives... but you will be unsafe opening or running any single one of them :-).

To get around this, you will need to scan the old drives *thoroughly* before opening or running any of the files contained on them. If I was in your shoes, I would scan the old drives with at least two entirely different antivirus software scans. There will always be the possibility that the antivirus software may have missed a virus, but if it's been a few months since the infection, there's a reasonable chance that the virus(es) will be caught by the scans, but you'll still have to take a risk.
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August 19, 2011 12:51:19 AM

Best answer selected by minkxxx.
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August 19, 2011 1:08:41 AM

medoomi said:
If you are using a new system, that's a good start...

However, if you're using the same operating system as before, any files that you open or run from the old drives *may* re-install the virus you had into your new system. So... you should be safe plugging in the old drives... but you will be unsafe opening or running any single one of them :-).

To get around this, you will need to scan the old drives *thoroughly* before opening or running any of the files contained on them. If I was in your shoes, I would scan the old drives with at least two entirely different antivirus software scans. There will always be the possibility that the antivirus software may have missed a virus, but if it's been a few months since the infection, there's a reasonable chance that the virus(es) will be caught by the scans, but you'll still have to take a risk.


Hi Medoomi. Long time no answer from me - sorry. Time gets away. I haven't yet applied your fix yet but it is what I'm going to do. I've been caught up with some other things and it's just about time to retrieve those files. I had researched this problem prior to asking on this forum and your suggestions re. New OS, 2 x virus scans etc sound like a pretty safe bet. I only got 1 response but your response was so thorough, logical and easy to understand that I've put a 'best answer' on it. It seems there's a lot of peeps out there with same probs (over 200 checked it out). Oh well. Back to storing/archiving precious files at another location, off network (not sure about the cloud though). I used to do this. Got lazy with a home network thinking everything was backed up at least 3 times! Botnets - and now organised crime taking over. Bugger!
Thanks heaps matey! Cheers, mink
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