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Can a malicious program infect a computer from another computer on a typical home wireless network?

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You should provide more detail in the question. For example, what do you mean by "typical" home wireless network? – Breakthrough Jan 7 '11 at 17:53

It depends on:

  1. How careful the user is.

  2. How careful the user is.

  3. How careful the user is.

  4. and whether there's anything automated (like a task) to help it, or if the permissions aren't set well.

There's so many situations when it will work and when it won't that it's hard to describe here, but I guess the general answer would be a "yes".

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-1 for the emphasis of careful - it looks like a big copy/paste typo... – studiohack Jan 7 '11 at 17:30
:( sorry, but it's true... (Btw, ever heard of the phrase "location, location, location" when buying a home?) – Mehrdad Jan 7 '11 at 17:32
true, you have a point... – studiohack Jan 7 '11 at 17:57

Yes a "worm" can crawl the network and infect other PCs, depends on how sophisticated the worm is what damage can do, the recent Stuxnet worm was devastating to Iran's Nuclear Program.

The Stuxnet Story


A computer worm is a self-replicating malware computer program. It uses a computer network to send copies of itself to other nodes (computers on the network) and it may do so without any user intervention. This is due to security shortcomings on the target computer. Unlike a virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms almost always cause at least some harm to the network, even if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or modify files on a targeted computer.

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That's a big YES.

Malicious software can spread via file shares (viruses) or network services (worms).

To protect these attack vectors share files with minimal permissions (don't use a writable file share when a read only one will do the job.) And protect services as though they were exposed to the internet (firewall them and apply security patches.)

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If by typical you mean some windows PC's or laptops and you have them configured insecurely (ie no windows firewall, no AV, file sharing enabled etc) then absolutely - you can be pwned!

If you have firewalls set up, up-to-date antivirus, file sharing disabled and applications patched then it is much less likely.

Same as a wired network in this respect :-)

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