Level 12
I think downloading app's is the main way to get infected. The next is clicking popups like Flash player needs updating. When I see this I go to Flashplayer & find out. Malicious sites by drive by downloads. A site might not be listed as malicious yet. Did I miss anything? Thanks! marg
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Deleted member 21043

You shouldn't say
Clicking on links while on a website
because a lot of links on websites (a majority) are not malicious and are fine.

Deleted member 21043

When you download installers, they usually have "default install (recommended)" and then a "custom" installation. Usually on the default it has other apps bundled, (PUPS/Adware). By choosing Custom install, unticking the boxes for the third party software you avoid having the PUPS/Adware you don't want.
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Retired Staff
Most common ways to get infected:

1. Manually downloading suspicious files from unknown sources (social links like Facebook, online ads, email attachments, fake alert pages, etc.).
2. Running suspicious files, ignoring UAC prompts and Windows Run warnings about files without digital certificates.
3. Not keeping Windows Updated. (most important prevents vulnerability bypasses)
4. Not keeping browsers or software updated especially browser plugins.
5. Connecting an unknown device to your system and executing files (including systems on your shared network).

Adware and PUP are bundled with many installers because always do a custom install or use a portable version.
Adware and PUP are usually non-malicious just basic junkware products and are very easy to remove.

Other ways to get infected:

1. Downloading files on P2P Networks like Bittorrent.
2. Improper testing of live malware samples.
3. Download cracks or keygens from illegal sites (many will have undetected payloads).

Enjoy!! :D


New Member
Common ways to get infected (my personal observations/experiences, not necessarily '100% scientifically accurate')

* Visiting BBS and downloading infected files (rare to get an infection, but it happened)
* Running pirate software from unknown sources off diskettes
* Infected diskettes (commonly 'repair diskettes' which had been infected without the repair guys knowledge)

* Usenet binaries
* Email attachments (somebody at your office got infected, you get an email from them, open the attachment.....) [Less common after outlook was patched in 2003]
* Floppy disks
* Kazaa and other file-shares

* Drive by downloads
* P2P Networks (torrents)
* Cracks/Keygens (Some are legitimate releases from reverse engineering groups, which are later backdoored. Others complete fakes)
* Spam attachments (Commonly affects businesses)
* Backdoored hack-tools