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Question Can viruses spread through wifi?

Mar 9, 2020
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Well, basically the title. I have searched so much for the answer to this question, however, I got quite a few different answered so I would trust and some I would call bs upon seeing them. One day I was worried that my MacBook (will be needed later in the story) got infected with some sort of malware. I got a family technician to help me with this we scanned my mac with Malwarebytes and what do you know, 9 detections. Malwarebytes took care of them but I was suspicious. Then for my birthday, I got Bitdefender total security 2020 and that found 9 detections two of which were false positives, however, one of them scared the living ghosts out of me. It had detected a trojan on my laptop. Now this is TERRIBLE news to hear since I had some transactions made on this laptop so this really had me scared, but Bitdefender got rid of the trojan and all the other detections (I don't know where they came from, probably downloaded a mod for Minecraft or something else back 2 years ago). Then I got a bit curious and I did some research and I posted on Reddit a few times for different topics but I was suspicious for some reason for a virus (don't know why, to be honest) and I started searching since I heard that viruses could spread through wifi. Now here is where the MacBook comes into play. I found out that it is in fact possible for them so I called the IT technician to ask him and he said that in his career he had never seen a virus spread through wifi. Now on Quora (I know its a bad place to find information) people said that it is very possible for that to happen, however, none of them provided any proof or any examples so I thought that the information was completely wrong and I posted on Reddit (r/asktechnology) and one guy said something as a joke and the other I had a little conversation with. He said that viruses can in fact spread through wifi however he hasn't actually seen that happen. Now another guy confirmed that viruses can spread through wifi, however, he said that they can't exactly spread from my MacBook to my iPhone or from my MacBook to my mom's Windows Laptop. So now for my final questions (I can also give you the link to the Reddit post)

Can viruses indeed spread through wifi?

Can a virus spread from my MacBook over wifi to my iPhone?

Can a virus spread from my MacBook over wifi to my mom's Laptop running Windows 10?

All help is appreciated and I would love to hear your input on this topic! Have a great day!
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Well, basically the title. I have searched so much for the answer to this question, however, I got quite a few different answered so I would trust and some I would call bs upon seeing them. One day I was worried that my MacBook (will be needed later in the story) got infected with some sort of malware. I got a family technician to help me with this we scanned my mac with Malwarebytes and what do you know, 9 detections. Malwarebytes took care of them but I was suspicious. Then for my birthday, I got Bitdefender total security 2020 and that found 9 detections two of which were false positives, however, one of them scared the living ghosts out of me. It had detected a trojan on my laptop. Now this is TERRIBLE news to hear since I had some transactions made on this laptop so this really had me scared, but Bitdefender got rid of the trojan and all the other detections (I don't know where they came from, probably downloaded a mod for Minecraft or something else back 2 years ago). Then I got a bit curious and I did some research and I posted on Reddit a few times for different topics but I was suspicious for some reason for a virus (don't know why, to be honest) and I started searching since I heard that viruses could spread through wifi. Now here is where the MacBook comes into play. I found out that it is in fact possible for them so I called the IT technician to ask him and he said that in his career he had never seen a virus spread through wifi. Now on Quora (I know its a bad place to find information) people said that it is very possible for that to happen, however, none of them provided any proof or any examples so I thought that the information was completely wrong and I posted on Reddit (r/asktechnology) and one guy said something as a joke and the other I had a little conversation with. He said that viruses can in fact spread through wifi however he hasn't actually seen that happen. Now another guy confirmed that viruses can spread through wifi, however, he said that they can't exactly spread from my MacBook to my iPhone or from my MacBook to my mom's Windows Laptop. So now for my final questions (I can also give you the link to the Reddit post)

Can viruses indeed spread through wifi?

Can a virus spread from my MacBook over wifi to my iPhone?

Can a virus spread from my MacBook over wifi to my mom's Laptop running Windows 10?

All help is appreciated and I would love to hear your input on this topic! Have a great day!
Sure, a virus that spreads on a local area network will spread via WIFI. The virus doesn't know the difference. That is handled by the OS the virus is running under.
 
Mar 9, 2020
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Sure, a virus that spreads on a local area network will spread via WIFI. The virus doesn't know the difference. That is handled by the OS the virus is running under.
Oh ok, that's good and bad to know. Do you have an answer to any of my other questions since that is what concerns me most, the wifi to not spread to phones or windows pcs? Btw what do I do if my MacBook has a virus? What steps should I take to prevent it spreading? and my final question. Do all viruses spread through wifi?
 

USAFRet

Titan
Moderator
Mar 16, 2013
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Oh ok, that's good and bad to know. Do you have an answer to any of my other questions since that is what concerns me most, the wifi to not spread to phones or windows pcs? Btw what do I do if my MacBook has a virus? What steps should I take to prevent it spreading? and my final question. Do all viruses spread through wifi?
Is the system, drive or files visible or accessible between systems?
If so, a "virus" can spread, no matter if WiFi or ethernet.
 

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Oh ok, that's good and bad to know. Do you have an answer to any of my other questions since that is what concerns me most, the wifi to not spread to phones or windows pcs? Btw what do I do if my MacBook has a virus? What steps should I take to prevent it spreading? and my final question. Do all viruses spread through wifi?
I have no mac or iPhone experience. I don't know what can happen with those devices.
 
Mar 9, 2020
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Is the system, drive or files visible or accessible between systems?
If so, a "virus" can spread, no matter if WiFi or ethernet.
If you mean that I can access data from let's say my device to my mom than the answer would be no, but if this doesn't answer, I would require this to be explained a little bit.
 
Mar 9, 2020
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I have no mac or iPhone experience. I don't know what can happen with those devices.
Oh ok, that's not a big problem. Can you help me with my other question though which is, What steps should I take if my desktop devise gets a virus? Should I immediately unplug it from the ethernet cable and then nuke it out of orbit? And Also I haven't been very good so I haven't backed up my data... I should probably do it soon so I would appreciate if you tell me how I could back data up since that would be helpful in the future. Also, let's say that I don't do a backup but I have some important files. What should I do if the desktop PC gets a virus and I want to save some important things safely while losing as little data possible? That would cheer me up in case I do something stupid and thanks to you I would have a solution.
 

Encryption+

Upstanding
Sep 26, 2019
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In answer to the original question yes a virus can infect your computer (or other internet connected device) via WiFi.

Do all viruses spread through wifi?
Not necessarily, WiFi is just one of many ways a virus can enter your device. Other ways include flash drives (or other types of removable drives), any kind of internet access whether it be wireless or ethernet, or even bluetooth though the short range of bluetooth limits it's usefullness. Essentaily anything that has input into your device could theoreticly carry a virus.

Can a virus spread from my MacBook over wifi to my iPhone?
Yes one device can also infect another if they are connected to each other. This is an example of were bluetooth or USB drives could infect something in spite of requiring close proximity. Any IoT device which connects to another can infect that device which will then be able to pass it on to others, which is where it gets the name VIRUS.
 
Mar 9, 2020
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In answer to the original question yes a virus can infect your computer (or other internet connected device) via WiFi.


Not necessarily, WiFi is just one of many ways a virus can enter your device. Other ways include flash drives (or other types of removable drives), any kind of internet access whether it be wireless or ethernet, or even bluetooth though the short range of bluetooth limits it's usefullness. Essentaily anything that has input into your device could theoreticly carry a virus.



Yes one device can also infect another if they are connected to each other. This is an example of were bluetooth or USB drives could infect something in spite of requiring close proximity. Any IoT device which connects to another can infect that device which will then be able to pass it on to others, which is where it gets the name VIRUS.
So to your last answer, my iPhone can get infected with the virus my MacBook got over wifi or other ways such as Bluetooth?
 

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