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Invisible question mark randomly added to the end of renamed files


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#1 daaabs

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 12:45 AM

Hey there,

I have a bit of a weird problem. I plugged-in my neice's USB hard drive to put some stuff on it for her, but I noticed a box character was being added to the end of some of the renamed files, looking a bit like this: [] (without the space, obv)

I copy-pasted this character into Google and found that it was a question mark. Copy-pasting it into Notepad just showed a box.

Why would that happen? Should I be worried? Could it be a symptom of a virus?

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#2 daaabs

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 12:46 AM

Oh, there's no space between the square brackets here. There was in the text editor. Ignore that

#3 Nightspear

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 05:48 PM

That is quite strange. Are both PCs running Windows?



#4 daaabs

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 11:29 PM

Well, mine definitely is, but I'm not sure who else has accessed the USB hard drive or what system they used. I think she uses it in a few different computers, hence my concern...

#5 Nightspear

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 12:52 AM

I can't speak for all operating systems, but I know Linux is less strict on its file names than Windows is. In fact, the first time I plugged my thumb drive into a Windows machine after it had been in a Linux machine, I noticed a few new files that were not there before. I cant speak at all for a Mac. It is possible the drive is being used with multiple OS's. If you are still concerned, it wont hurt to scan it for viruses and malware to put your mind at ease. I like to use https://www.trendmicro.com/en_us/forHome/products/housecall.html to guarantee that my local AV is not compromised. You can also check the file itself with https://www.virustotal.com/

 

If I am wrong, I hope someone will correct me.



#6 daaabs

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 01:09 AM

Thanks for the reply. I'll definitely run House Call

I think I need to clarify though, it's not a particular file - it's a load of different files, seemingly random, and the [] (invisible question mark) only appears at the end of the filename when I rename them

For example, if I change 12345_axxo_HDDVDrip(2007).mp4 to just 12345.mp4, I sometimes end up with a random [] before the extension, i.e. 12345[].mp4

I wouldn't have known that the [] was a question mark if I didn't copy it into a Google search box

I can actually re-rename the files to delete the [], but it seems strange that it would appear in the first place

#7 Nightspear

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 11:01 AM

I know the file name you used was an example and I am sure you are aware of the dangers of P2P file sharing, let alone the legalities.

 

With that said and assuming (I hate to assume anything) you, your niece, or some one known by one or both of you is sharing movies. No matter how many times you scan the downloaded files. They could still be infected. 1000's of new viruses and malware are written everyday in comparison to the ones discovered. Is your information worth the risk?

 

It is indeed very strange that it does that. I wish I had an exact answer, but the possibilities are end endless. Without knowing the exact filename it is hard to determine the route to take. If the file is indeed downloaded. I can't think of any way of knowing the naming convention used to even guess why it is adding the extra [] (hidden character).






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