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Where can I download a virus, work, trojan, etc. for analysis? Yes, I'm actually hunting for malware, rather than keeping it at bay and hiding behind antivirus software and firewalls. I plan to analyze it in a lab for a project, but don't know where to even begin finding one.

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Like the biologists who work in BSL4 facilities, do exercise appropriate caution; your friends and colleagues will appreciate it. –  msw Jun 18 '10 at 0:48
    
@msw I most certainly will. I'm just planning on doing some "dead" analysis on it. The VM is getting toasted immediately after. –  Matt Hanson Jun 18 '10 at 0:52

6 Answers 6

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I ended up finding my way over to VX Heavens, where they have a massive collection of virus broken down in to various categories (Backdoors, DoS, Worms, Hoaxes, Trojans, the works). Great if you need to analyze actual malicious code in a "dead" state (as much fun as surfing to a bunch of sketchy sites is and sorting through the mess later).

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Here are a couple options:

A) Hit up a bunch of adult websites and click on every banner ad you see.

B) Go to a torrent search engine (http://thepiratebay.org/ or http://www.torrentz.com/, for example) and do a search for "keygen". Download a bunch and start firing up the executables within.

You will definitely end up with some nasties sooner than later using these techniques.

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Honestly? Start googling for free antivirus software. You are guaranteed to find something on that list, especially if its something you've never heard of. Web pages that scream you are infected! in red capital letters ten feet high (okay, maybe not that urgent) are dead give-aways that you've found badware for the taking.

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Very funny how people can get viruses without even trying and then when you want one... its pretty much impossible to find one. I have a bunch saved to a thumb drive to mess around with later and a bunch in the "virus vault" in my antivirus software. A good place to start would be to check the virus vaults in the antivirus software for all the computers you have access to. You can then restore the virus to wherever you want.

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The Anti-Virus or Anti-Malware test file: http://www.eicar.org/anti_virus_test_file.htm which notes

read the complete text, it contains important information

To which I add:

read the complete text, it contains important information

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your irony is too subtle. This is only a canonical test signature which is hardcoded into virus scanners. It doesn't contain any useful malware code for research. –  Benjamin Bannier Jun 18 '10 at 0:56
    
@honk: sorry no irony intended, as I didn't read the complete text. seriously. –  msw Jun 18 '10 at 1:09

If you really want...

You can probably find some sort of virus "history" through standard google searches. I'm sure there are archived copies of such "I love you" worms.

If you are trying to purposefully infect a computer, download Windows XP (no service patches) and using IE 6/7 browse various sites of questionable content.

Then install LimeWire. Search for songs or music. Download as many as you can. Sort them out as real music files and .exe files pretending to be music files (often hidden in archives). Now run them all.

Install just about every browser toolbar you can find for IE, along with any available programs along the lines of "I sit in your taskbar and randomly popup telling you something".

However I feel I must warn you...

Doing the above will most certainly trash the machine. Also you probably will have limited insight as to what actually caused the most damage. You will most surely have various viruses and malware present, but finding and identifying them will be a challenge in and of itself, not to mention dissecting the programs.

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Don't use IE 7. IE 6 is much more vulnerable. –  Hello71 Jun 18 '10 at 21:39

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