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While I was downloading Earthlock: Festival of Magic AVG popped up:

AVG Virus

I suspended the download of this game until I could confirm if the game is safe.

I know that sometimes Anti-Virus might give false positives when an innocent file does something similar to a known Virus, but when it comes to PC safety, I can't always give the benefit of the doubt.

I am wondering however, should I be concerned for Viruses when I download through Steam? Or is this just a known false positive and downloading through Steam is actually safe?

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    AVG is full of false positives. Honestly, anything more than MS Defender is unnecessary, unless you're always downloading suspicious content from suspicious sources. – Elise May 18 '17 at 11:02
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    @Chippies ... and if you're always downloading suspicious content from suspicious sources, there's no anti-virus that can protect you. – Luaan May 18 '17 at 15:25
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    Getting a game onto Steam is quite hard. And Valve requires lots of paperwork from developers. That makes it even harder to do it while not revealing your identity. I doubt any game developer would risk to get blacklisted by Valve because they bundled their game with malware. – Philipp May 18 '17 at 17:25
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    @Chippies Very false. Windows Defender has the worst detection rate of any antivirus on the market (70% vs most of them 95%). It's like saying you don't need Chrome or Firefox because you already have Edge. – stommestack May 21 '17 at 8:23
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    @JopV. I don't know where you got your numbers, but according to AV-Test.org MS Defender detects 88'ish % of 0-day and close to 100% of threats discovered in last 4 weeks. That combined with the fact that it's very lightweight, has hardly any false positives and won't annoy me in general (i.e most of the time I don't even know I have it enabled), with a little bit of common sense makes it the best AV for me. – Elise May 21 '17 at 23:05
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win32.BogEnt is a known false positive for digital download games. It should be fine to play this. win32.BogEnt is a heuristic-based indicator. This is not based on the scanned file being known to the software as a virus, but rather the software doing some analysis on the file and deciding that it MIGHT be a virus based on stuff like it sharing certain code fragments with a virus, or it might use rarely used instructions, or it might be run in a contained sandbox environment to see what it does. Heuristics frequently give false positives.

The overwhelming majority of games on Steam are pretty safe to download, especially if they're already on there for a couple of months. However, some games get bundled with invasive DRM, although that's not really a virus.

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    +1. Steam isn't allowing any old file to just go into their system, you'd have to imagine they're checking things for safety first. They'd be a dead platform if they didn't! – Kaizerwolf May 18 '17 at 13:30
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    It would be good to see a reputable source for the "known false positive" part of this answer. The paranoid part of my brain says "that's exactly what an attacker would want you to believe", and "some random person on the internet says it's safe" would be a poor reason to trust something. – IMSoP May 18 '17 at 13:48
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    @Kaizerwolf Steam makes no guarantees that the games they distribute are virus-free, secure, or even not actively harmful. It's simply infeasible to check every update that goes out for every game. See section 7.C of the subscriber agreement: store.steampowered.com/subscriber_agreement – Carl Kevinson May 18 '17 at 15:00
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    @Kaizerwolf Publishers routinely dump their entire inventory of games on Steam when they have the ability to do so. It is/was not uncommon to have 50% of the "new games" on Steam be uploads from games published in the 90's. Some of them do not work, some of them handle so horribly that it is weird someone would be even asking any money for it. The thing is, Steam is a digital marketplace. They have unlimited* space. Having these lists of old games doesn't hurt them (enough) to actively curate these backlists. – Sumurai8 May 18 '17 at 16:47
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    I would like to point out that while invasive DRM may not officially be considered a virus, it can oftentimes be just as bad as one. StarForce, for example, has been known to cause physical damage to CD-ROM drives due to bad programming, likes to disable SCSI devices because it assumes they're all virtual drives for mounting images (considering that Windows has a tendency to detect SATA drives (such as, say, an HDD) as SCSI devices, this is a VERY BAD IDEA), and creates an enormous security hole. – Justin Time 2 Reinstate Monica May 18 '17 at 21:27
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I suppose you can never be too safe, but you shouldn't really be concerned for viruses on Steam. [susp] in the virus' name stands for "suspicious", which means the anti-virus itself isn't sure if it's even a threat or not. Games downloaded on Steam are (supposed to be) virus-free.

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    Games distributed in retail boxes via CD & DVD "are (supposed to be) virus-free" too. That plan didn't always come together.... – tjd May 18 '17 at 12:32
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    Games on Steam can be managed better. If a game in a retail box has a virus, there's nothing that can be done besides a recall (and who's gonna do that, really), whereas on Steam if a malicious developer did decide to go rogue and distribute a virus with their game, it would get caught quickly and they would lose pretty much everything, starting with their game getting pulled from the store, and their reputation destroyed. I'd be iffy with indie devs publishing a game that looks like it took them couple hours to make and no reputation to lose, but in this case there's definitely money to lose – Elise May 18 '17 at 12:37
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    Bad actors gave us root-kit-as-DRM in retail boxes. Viruses in retail boxes were almost always the result of oversight & carelessness. Steam can help greatly here, but it's no magic bullet. – tjd May 18 '17 at 12:45
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    Which is why I said "supposed to be" :P It's not guaranteed, but the chances are extremely slim. In this case - even the AV isn't sure if it's a threat, but warned the user anyway. – Elise May 18 '17 at 12:51
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I'm fairly sure that's a false positive, if I'm not mistaken it's the dll for Gog's Galaxy client.

Earthlock is available on Gog and has Galaxy support so it's reasonable to assume that's what it is. The Steam.dll gets included in quite a lot of Gog's DRM free games too so I imagine the developers just use the same builds for both in many cases.

As has already been mentioned many games and game clients get flagged as viruses or malware by over enthusiastic anti virus.

0

There are many files that act in ways that certain antivirus programs see as problematic. For me personally, I had an issue with Sid Meier's Civilization V where the .exe would get quarantined by Symantec.

Steam is usually pretty good with keeping viruses from getting into their downloads and keeping them out of their network. I'd say not to expect any viruses from a Steam download.

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One important thing to remember about Steam is that it has a very large user base. That equates to a very large number of people available to report 'this game has a virus'. It's true that there are other factors that affect this (the virus may only target certain users, people might not report the virus, the game may not have been bought by many people etc) but on the whole, if there's a lot of satisfied customers then it seems likely that these people have not experienced viruses and thus unlikely that the game does contain a virus.

That said, there are some games with 3rd party anti-cheat systems that are somewhat invasive and questionable (I remember one game in particular used an anti-cheat system that required a Windows service to be installed).

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The original question was "Should I be concerned for Viruses when I download through Steam?"

I believe the correct answer is to ALWAYS be concerned when downloading ANY software from ANY source. Always assume the download could contain a virus (whether intentional or not).

Now, that being said... Steam is a very popular platform for a large community of gamers and I am certain they would do as much as they can to properly vet new games and their developers. But there's only so much they can do and, ultimately, the responsibility of securing your machine is yours alone. When something suspicious pops up, it's your duty to research it before allowing it onto your machine.

You've done the right thing. You've asked for help. You can also Google the "virus" that is flagged and see what it might be. Just be aware that because something SAYS it is one thing, doesn't mean it actually is. A flag that turns out to be a "false positive" on your search could actually be a true virus that is just named after what is now commonly assumed to be a false positive.

Crafty little buggers, aren't they?

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    If you search for the false positive in reference to a specific game though you can see if that particular one is a false positive (unless the devs were extremely shady and replaced a false positive file with a real virus of the same name). – JMac May 19 '17 at 15:35
  • It doesn't necessarily have to be the devs of the game. How many games use 3rd party "anti-cheat" programs that could be compromised without the game devs even being involved or aware of the problem? One should never make assumptions that software is "safe." Always have anti-virus software in place to flag suspect programs before they can do damage. When unsure, look deeper and make an educated guess as to whether you can trust it. – Tam May 22 '17 at 17:01

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