VOGONS


First post, by radiounix

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Yes, I'm serious. I know the prevailing consensus is that you can't get a virus because DOS is dead and old. But that doesn't in my mind mean that one can't pick up a classic 1980s or 1990s virus off of an old FTP archive or BBS dump, used recyclable or program disks, or random "abandonware" computer program cracked and zipped up decades ago . Seems fairly likely, actually.

The machine in question is a 1400LT with dual floppy drives. Some kind of real time scanner that can load off the DOS 3.2 boot disk, run on an 8088, and only use a few dozen KB of disk space would be cool. Or is this crazy talk?

Reply 1 of 14, by DosFreak

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You can try ClamAV it's not realtime and don't know what the minimum processor is:
https://www.ibiblio.org/pub/micro/pc-stuff/fr … tml/clamav.html

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Reply 2 of 14, by darry

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radiounix wrote on 2020-12-05, 15:38:

Yes, I'm serious. I know the prevailing consensus is that you can't get a virus because DOS is dead and old. But that doesn't in my mind mean that one can't pick up a classic 1980s or 1990s virus off of an old FTP archive or BBS dump, used recyclable or program disks, or random "abandonware" computer program cracked and zipped up decades ago . Seems fairly likely, actually.

The machine in question is a 1400LT with dual floppy drives. Some kind of real time scanner that can load off the DOS 3.2 boot disk, run on an 8088, and only use a few dozen KB of disk space would be cool. Or is this crazy talk?

I would suggest you pre-scan content on a modern machine or in a virtual machine (if using and old anti-virus). I doubt a real-time scanner on an 8088 would be a good idea, if one even exists . Then there's conventional memory usage to consider .

Reply 3 of 14, by Cobra42898

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do a search to see what versions of mcafee etc were available in 1996, 1995, etc before they required win95. some were setup as bootable floppies that would scan everything before installing, and then had a TSR, if i remember that right.

from there its more of seeing what versions you can get.

Searching for Epson Actiontower 3000 486 PC.

Reply 5 of 14, by BloodyCactus

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I use the last dos FPROT but that version is not for 8088/8086. There is a version for it that is obviously older so your taking a gamble running it.

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Reply 6 of 14, by Grzyb

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Some MS-DOS versions came with MSAV, including the resident VSAFE.
VIRSTOP by F-PROT is also resident.

But I wouldn't trust them - a good antivirus is an antivirus with large set of virus definitions, while resident programs in DOS need to be small.
Use a modern antivirus on a modern machine.

Reply 8 of 14, by radiounix

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Okay. I guess I came to the same opinion as everyone else. I'm sure MacAfee had something like this in the early 90s, but I imagine it might use an unreasonable amount of conventional memory and impair system responsivity. And obviously, given such an AV would be around 30 years old it would have primitive routines and probably miss most DOS viruses that came out in the mid 90s, which might be the more likely kind to encounter nowadays. Plus, I worry about the compatibility issues it might cause to low level game routines.

Have people not been finding viruses out in the wild? I'm thinking what I really need to do is see if Windows Defender has old DOS viruses in its definitions, and if not, get a traditional AV from F-Protect, AVG or whatever.

Reply 9 of 14, by Errius

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https://archive.org/details/frostbyte_1980s_DOS_collection

This collection contains a bunch of DOS viruses according to Windows Defender.

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Reply 11 of 14, by K1n9_Duk3

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The built-in antivirus in Windows 10 can still detect the old DELWIN virus (infected files as well as infected boot sectors). Your mileage may vary, I guess, but I also don't see the point of removing any virus definitions from the antivirus database. Any halfway decent antivirus software should (in my opinion) be able to detect any virus that has ever been identified, no matter how old that virus is.

Reply 12 of 14, by Tiido

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I had great results with DOS part of Norton 2005 when the program was still along the lines of new. I used it to disinfect my computer from pure DOS from a virus that infected every executable file when windows was running, I think it was called Funlove/W32 🤣.

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Reply 13 of 14, by radiounix

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chrismeyer6 wrote on 2020-12-09, 14:26:

Will modern antivirus software be able to detect old DOS era viruses?

Yes!

I downloaded an archive of live DOS viruses and Windows Defender went ape when I ran a manual scan. I don't know if it caught most or all, this was a huge library of them, but it certainly was aware of DOS viruses and wasn't just using heuristics because it had names for them.

There's still reason to keep the definitions in, even in 2020. Some embedded machines, like in industrial controls and scientific instrumentation, is still running DOS or Windows 9x on a SBC. A mishap with an ancient virus on similarly aging industrial equipment could cost many thousands in repairs and workstoppage.