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McAfee identified Publisher as Malware


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I did a McAfee Malware scan on my Windows laptop, and it identified publisher.exe as infected with malware and deleted the file. I did the scan after my Wi-Fi firewall reported a lot of blocked malware activity. Are there any know concerns about malware impacting the current version of Publisher?

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Welcome to the forum @CharlesMorris,

If you purchased it from a reputable source, like Serif or MS Windows store, then no there's no malware.

JMHO, McAffee is a problem when it comes to falsely identifying software. I dumped McAffee back in early 2000.

Affinity Photo 2.3..; Affinity Designer 2.3..; Affinity Publisher 2.3..; Affinity2 Beta versions. Affinity Photo,Designer 1.10.6.1605 Win10 Home Version:21H2, Build: 19044.1766: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-5820K CPU @ 3.30GHz, 3301 Mhz, 6 Core(s), 12 Logical Processor(s);32GB Ram, Nvidia GTX 3070, 3-Internal HDD (1 Crucial MX5000 1TB, 1-Crucial MX5000 500GB, 1-WD 1 TB), 4 External HDD

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37 minutes ago, Ron P. said:

If you purchased it from a reputable source, like Serif or MS Windows store, then no there's no malware.

That should be the case. I will raise the example of the SolarWinds affair, whose own system monitoring software failed to notice that it had been compromised horribly. You cannot assert with certainty that a file you have not handled is free from malware. I would treat a report of malware as serious until the opposite is shown to be the case. If the file has been compromised, it could have been compromised locally. And to be fair McAfee could also be at fault.

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If Affinity Publisher was comprised with malware, I think a lot more people would be experiencing this, and with a variety of anti-virus software. It seems that McAfee has been about the only one that's been flagging it.

@CharlesMorris,

  • Did you have APub installed and running on your system prior to running the malware check?
  • Did you install APub just prior to running the check?
  • What caused you to run the malware check on your system?

You could try uninstalling APub, completely remove it from your system, including the downloaded install file. Then re-download it and see if McAfee still flags it. I'm going to say it will. Not that APub has malware, but just that's McAfee's nature.

One other thing you might try. Do you have another PC, that has a different anti-virus program? If so see if that AV program flags it as malware.

Affinity Photo 2.3..; Affinity Designer 2.3..; Affinity Publisher 2.3..; Affinity2 Beta versions. Affinity Photo,Designer 1.10.6.1605 Win10 Home Version:21H2, Build: 19044.1766: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-5820K CPU @ 3.30GHz, 3301 Mhz, 6 Core(s), 12 Logical Processor(s);32GB Ram, Nvidia GTX 3070, 3-Internal HDD (1 Crucial MX5000 1TB, 1-Crucial MX5000 500GB, 1-WD 1 TB), 4 External HDD

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It is of course also possible that you installed something else that's infected, and it in turn has infected other programs on your system.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.3.1

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2 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

It is of course also possible that you installed something else that's infected, and it in turn has infected other programs on your system.

That's not even a nice situation. Trying to chase that down can be a nightmare, which would lead one to just completely reformatting a drive... 😲

Affinity Photo 2.3..; Affinity Designer 2.3..; Affinity Publisher 2.3..; Affinity2 Beta versions. Affinity Photo,Designer 1.10.6.1605 Win10 Home Version:21H2, Build: 19044.1766: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-5820K CPU @ 3.30GHz, 3301 Mhz, 6 Core(s), 12 Logical Processor(s);32GB Ram, Nvidia GTX 3070, 3-Internal HDD (1 Crucial MX5000 1TB, 1-Crucial MX5000 500GB, 1-WD 1 TB), 4 External HDD

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12 hours ago, CharlesMorris said:

As I indicated, I ran the scan because my wifi firewall (not McAfee) was flagging malware.

In this case, it seems sensible to report such an experience or idea only together with an upload of the report or with verbose screenshots at least to allow a serious investigation of a possible infection. Also, a proper report would include installed software + version numbers.

Without clear information, it seems more like a panic cry that only blames Serif or Affinity, regardless of whether intentionally or unintentionally.

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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27 minutes ago, Ron P. said:

That's not even a nice situation. Trying to chase that down can be a nightmare, which would lead one to just completely reformatting a drive... 😲

Maybe try to establish whether McAfee is reporting a false positive by running a 2nd AV program (but not simultaneously).

AP, AD & APub user, running Win10

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15 hours ago, CharlesMorris said:

and it identified publisher.exe as infected with malware and deleted the file

Did it delete it or quarantine it?

If quarantined you can always get it back for further analysis

To save time I am currently using an automated AI to reply to some posts on this forum. If any of "my" posts are wrong or appear to be total b*ll*cks they are the ones generated by the AI. If correct they were probably mine. I apologise for any mistakes made by my AI - I'm sure it will improve with time.

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I have previously heard McAfee AV described as a virus!

Speaking personally, I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole.  When I had to buy a new laptop about 18 months ago, almost the first thing I did to it was to use McAfee's own software removal tool to completely remove ALL traces of it!

Jeff

Win 10 Pro, i7 6700K, 32Gb RAM, NVidia GTX1660 Ti and Intel HD530 Graphics

Long-time user of Serif products, chiefly PagePlus and PhotoPlus, but also WebPlus, CraftArtistProfessional and DrawPlus.  Delighted to be using Affinity Designer, Photo, and now Publisher, version 1 and now version 2.

iPad Pro (12.9") (iOS 17.2) running Affinity Photo and Designer version 1 and all three version 2 apps.

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8 minutes ago, emmrecs01 said:

I have previously heard McAfee AV described as a virus!

Speaking personally, I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole.  When I had to buy a new laptop about 18 months ago, almost the first thing I did to it was to use McAfee's own software removal tool to completely remove ALL traces of it!

Totally agree! I also had a laptop with it preinstalled a few years ago. It was forever giving false positives and deleting things I knew were OK. It was also a nightmare getting rid of it completely.

Acer XC-895 : Core i5-10400 Hexa-core 2.90 GHz :  32GB RAM : Intel UHD Graphics 630 : Windows 10 Home
Affinity Publisher 2 : Affinity Photo 2 : Affinity Designer 2 : (latest release versions) on desktop and iPad

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Just in the interest of balance, I have used McAfee for years and never had any issues with stuff getting through. I don't get worked up about the occasional (maybe once a year?) false positive: better that way than not at all. As far as I am concerned, it does what it's meant to do and does it very well.

Ali 🙂

Hobby photographer.
Running Affinity Suite V2 on Windows 11 17" HP Envy i7 (8th Gen) & Windows 11 MS Surface Go 3 alongside MS365 (Insider Beta Channel).

 

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In all fairness, I think it comes down to what you are used to. I use Norton, have done for years, and don't have (many) problems with it, There again, I know some people who wouldn't touch it with a bargepole! 😉

Acer XC-895 : Core i5-10400 Hexa-core 2.90 GHz :  32GB RAM : Intel UHD Graphics 630 : Windows 10 Home
Affinity Publisher 2 : Affinity Photo 2 : Affinity Designer 2 : (latest release versions) on desktop and iPad

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Quote

"In all fairness, I think it comes down to what you are used to."

Confucius' Fortune Cookie? 1622942249_winkekatzeicon2Kopie2.jpg.c8e79c76ed3f9c3958a0b76d5b729673.jpg

Unfortune Cookie: I couldn't believe at first that this text is really published by McAfee ... It seems to make us believe to know bulletproof with an extra portion intensity that they know that you know that they never know for sure ... In all fairness, 50 pages "Risk Factors" ;•) … https://ir.mcafee.com/node/6386/html

1778405472_McAfeepressinfo_ot.jpg.95c987888841cb1ba25400fa3ef16d08.jpg

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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2 minutes ago, LondonSquirrel said:

Why can't you believe it? It seems like a very truthful explanation about the realities of their software (and software in general). 

I can but I did not expect it because of my scepticism. I would expect a shorter, less intense, less obvious, less flashing text, 1-2 sentences only, as e.g. …

"In very few cases it can happen that our software does not work as expected.
Use at your own risk, the McAfee company, the author and the contributors cannot be held liable
for corrupted files, loss of data, loss of work or any other issue that could arise by using our software."

Possibly my expectation is also influenced by not being familiar with US law, which is quite different to German in certain aspects.

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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Those are commonly referred to as Hold Harmless clauses. I think they're intentionally written by the lawyers to be confusing. I mean would you use a product that came outright and said, using our product may mess up your system, but we can't be liable for it. I used to have examples of some popular photo hosting websites' Hold Harmless clauses. In the writings, they would claim, they may do something like provide them to, or share them, and such action might cause harm to you. If it does, then we can not be liable for doing so.

Affinity Photo 2.3..; Affinity Designer 2.3..; Affinity Publisher 2.3..; Affinity2 Beta versions. Affinity Photo,Designer 1.10.6.1605 Win10 Home Version:21H2, Build: 19044.1766: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-5820K CPU @ 3.30GHz, 3301 Mhz, 6 Core(s), 12 Logical Processor(s);32GB Ram, Nvidia GTX 3070, 3-Internal HDD (1 Crucial MX5000 1TB, 1-Crucial MX5000 500GB, 1-WD 1 TB), 4 External HDD

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I recall a little utility that had as its EULA a short list of escalating misfortunes growing into mass destruction and multiple deaths. The author took no responsibility but did guarantee that all of the bad things would happen. In the final sentence he pointed out that these things would happen even if all you did was was think about looking at the sealed envelope with the disk in it.

It was a play on the then standard practice of stating that by breaking the seal you have agreed to all of the terms and conditions that are inside the envelope.

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 12.7.2 
Affinity Designer 2.3.1 | Affinity Photo 2.3.1 | Affinity Publisher 2.3.1 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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8 minutes ago, Ron P. said:

I mean would you use a product that came outright and said, using our product may mess up your system, but we can't be liable for it.

Don't they literally express possible danger not only once but repeatedly in their text, again and again ? This is what feels odd to me. I am used if they want to confuse they use capital letters only, just to avoid users reading them. So they also confused me by not using capitals ;)

macOS 10.14.6 | MacBookPro Retina 15" | Eizo 27" | Affinity V1 only

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Well there is probably an easy way to find out, use the online tool VirusTotal, the service checks the file with over 70 different scan engines and provides you with an overall results balance. It allows to upload a max file size of ~650 MB. -- An APub Win update exe has about 553,55 MB.

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Publisher 1.10.8 ◆ OSX El Capitan
☛ Affinity V2.3 apps ◆ MacOS Sonoma 14.2 ◆ iPad OS 17.2

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22 minutes ago, CharlesMorris said:

I was not familiar with VirusTotal --

Another such quite good service is "Jotti's malware scan", which also checks agains several antivirus scan engines, though this one has a 250MB limit per file.

☛ Affinity Designer 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.10.8 ◆ Affinity Publisher 1.10.8 ◆ OSX El Capitan
☛ Affinity V2.3 apps ◆ MacOS Sonoma 14.2 ◆ iPad OS 17.2

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