A notification from a cybersecurity tool (usually antivirus software) that a file or application contains possible threats that are not viruses. While this often refers to hidden adware or riskware, not-a-virus notifications might also pop up in response to legitimate programs like IRC clients, password managers, and FTP services.
Real “not-a-virus” examples
- Adware and riskware secretly bundled with legitimate programs
- Remote admin applications because of the control they have over the user’s system
- Cryptocurrency miners that abuse your computer’s processing power
- FTP, web, proxy, telnet, and other internet server services that give privileged access to the system
- IRC clients because they can open security backdoors into the network
Stopping threats identified as “not-a-virus”
- Enable threat monitoring in your antivirus. Most antivirus tools have a “Threats” and “Detect other software” section in their settings. Turning it on will notify you about riskware on your device.
- Use malware cleaner apps. Malware cleaners can scan your device to identify and remove malicious files.
- Use Threat Protection. NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature will notify you about malicious websites, block potentially dangerous ads, and scan files for malware during downloads.