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Is it possible to check the MBR of the boot drive of Ubuntu for viruses within my Ubuntu?

Is there any good software to do this? I heard ClamAV does not check for MBR viruses.

  • 1
    Why do you think you have a virus? – Uri Herrera Apr 6 '12 at 23:03
  • We live in an unsafe world. If the PC has had Windows on it, it may have MBR infections. – david6 Apr 7 '12 at 1:10
  • Note Using Linux is now the preferred method of finding and removing stubborn (MBR, stealth, etc.) malware. Most of the leading vendors now have a standalone (free) download, that targets Windows malware but is actually using Linux to operate. – david6 Apr 7 '12 at 1:11
  • @UriHerrera I want to check it with a tool/method. You do not know if you do not check. I have several Windows tools which can do that. But I have not Windows installed natively. I did not get any good answer till now. – therealmarv Apr 10 '12 at 18:28
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Based on some internet research:

1) The code of a virus in MBR would be so tiny that it is hard to detect (1).

2) A reasonable approach would be to compare your MBR before and after an infection. That is what some antivirus do (2).

3) You could copy your MBR to a file with something like sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=mbr.bin bs=512 count=1 then check the file, which is a binary, with an Hex Editor like Bless.

  • ok, this is maybe technical interesting. But I want an automated method to check for MBR virus. – therealmarv Apr 10 '12 at 18:29
  • I believe that there is only two automated ways: one compares your MBR before and after an infection and other compares your MBR with what it is expected to be from a list of defaults MBRs. – desgua Apr 11 '12 at 1:46
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    Note that the dd command needs to be run from a LiveCD. If you run it after executing the MBR code, you'll be looking at a pristine MBR served up by the virus disk I/O hook, and not the actual MBR. – Ben Voigt Mar 31 '14 at 20:26
  • @BenVoigt wow, thx on the info!! – Aquarius Power Mar 21 '17 at 3:55
  • it only extracts the 1st 512 bytes of the MBR, or is it the full MBR? if so, is the MBR always 512 bytes on every RW media type? – Aquarius Power Mar 21 '17 at 4:12
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Yes, most viruses / malware actually target Windows/Intel ('Wintel').

So many of the Ubuntu AV solutions mostly look for (and find) Wintel malware.

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