[SOLVED] Can viruses be spread just from sharing a home network (wifi)?

spyguy

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I have a phone, a laptop and a desktop. Lets say that the laptop ever gets a virus. The desktop connects to the router via lan. The laptop only connects via wifi. Not considering sending an infected file from the laptop and downloading it on the desktop, can a virus somehow infect another computer by recognizing another device connected to the same network and infect it? If so how do you prevent this? I have antivirus protection on the desktop.
 

Botnus

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Yes, viruses can spread and infect computers simply from being on the same network. These viruses are called "Worms". They are fully automated, meaning they don't need any input from a user to activate, and they often spread without your knowledge. Worms can be spread through a number of ways: Some older worms would propagate themselves by sending copies of themselves via email, whereas others may exploit open ports on the network and send themselves using any form of transmission available. There have been quite a few major attacks by worms in the past if you want to do a quick Google search and read up on them.

Worms usually aren't a major threat for home networks. Usual targets would be public WiFi or places of business where an attacker can acquire lots of information from several people quickly. To protect yourself, don't download files from an untrusted network or website. Make sure your browser's set to request your permission before running pop-ups, files, or programs from the internet. Don't open files from people you don't know, or files from people who may not have a reason to message you directly (For example, Jeff Bezos isn't very likely to send an email with an attachment to one of the people on the floor putting things in packages, so don't trust this email). You can verify business emails are authenticate when they come signed with a certificate or signature, which should up promptly on screen (Though admittedly, lots of places don't use this feature unless it's standard practice). Scan files that you download with an anti-virus BEFORE opening them to verify they're safe. Install anti-virus software on your devices (There's an app for Malware Bytes for phones, too, that's pretty good).

Basically just standard good practices for protecting yourself from any virus, really.
 
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spyguy

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Yes intelligent viruses can detect other devices on the network and infect them as well.
Separate your wifi and lan so that the two do not exist on the same network.
Would both devices have to be on and using the network at the same time? Will setting up a second router be enough?
 

popatim

Titan
Moderator
Would both devices have to be on and using the network at the same time? Will setting up a second router be enough?
Both devices would need to be on, not necessarily in use, just on because most people don't think to turn off the 'Wake on Lan' feature.

Depends on the router you have. Some can do this natively, some cannot. You might have a Guest access feature that will not allow connections to the main network. You could set this up.


Also wouldn't a good AV stop potential threats coming from another device?
depends on the AV. Some are only file scanners and do not monitor network activity.
The bad part of AV is they are reactionary. Not many can detect brand new threats. Only ones they've been programmed to look out for which is why the first wall of defense is the one sitting at the keyboard.
 

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