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Malicious Or Not? You decide...

Published: 2017-02-06
Last Updated: 2017-02-06 19:14:01 UTC
by Johannes Ullrich (Version: 1)
6 comment(s)

On of the hardest tasks in security, and probably fundamentally an impossible task is to figure out if something is not malicious. Even the code you wrote yourself, once it exceeds a certain complexity, could include backdoors that you as the author missed. They may come in the form of vulnerabilities, or maybe it was bad advice that you followed (ever copied code from Stackoverflow?). Never mind malicious libraries or compilers.

Earlier today, a reader sent me a file asking just that question. Carlos received an anti-malware warning flagging a file as malicious. According to Virustotal, ESET-NOD32 flags it as "a variant of Win32/KingSoft.D potentially unwanted". This is a pretty weak signature. Virustotal also stated that the file is "Probably harmless" and that "There are strong indicators suggesting that this file is safe to use."

Next, I uploaded it to hybrid-analysis. Hybrid-Analysis returned the following risk assessment:

This looks quite a bit more malicious.

Some additional Google searches revealed that the file is likely part of "WPS Office," a free Chinese office suite that appears to be included for free with some HP Laptops.

My advice to Carlos was that the file is likely not malicious, but as long as he doesn't need WPS Office, he is probably better off deleting it to save some disk space. In short: bloatware. 

What would your advice be? Here are the links to the results from Hybrid Analysis and Virustotal:


Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D.

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