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When scanning a network drive does antivirus load the whole file locally to scan it?

Posted on 2009-04-07
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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
Im trying to understand something, not fix anything. This question seems so noob Im almost afraid to ask it but hear I go. If I map a network drive and open a 1MB word document , 1MB worth of data needs to travel from the mapped location to my PC for me to view it  correct?  If so what if I scan the same 1MB file with Antivirus from my PC? Is 1MB travelling from the mapped location to my location or does Antivirus only check certain aspects of a file not requiring a full transfer?
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Question by:ksachs
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Mechanic_Kharkov earned 500 total points
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It all depends on method that your AV uses to scan file. Using Netbios software can read file data partially from network. There is no need to AV to get all file locally to start to process it unlike the Word that need the whole file to be loaded to temporary location to open it. Word depend on format of file that is container with complex structure that cannot be used partially.
So, Your question cannot have unambiguous answer. All is in AV hands. It can decide to load entire file if it is container (e.g. archive file), or just check it's header to understand that file is not infectable.
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by:Mechanic_Kharkov
Mechanic_Kharkov earned 500 total points
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In addition some AV (like Kaspersky's) use NTFS streams to store extra info about scanned files, and use this info to speed up next scans. Upon this info AV can accept file scanned even don't trying to open it. But as far as I know, this feature is available locally only because there is no way to access NTFS streams remotely via netbios.
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by:Mechanic_Kharkov
Mechanic_Kharkov earned 500 total points
ID: 24093287
If this question is really annoying for You and You are ready to experiment then I would recommend to use nice monitor of file access (and network too) activity to solve the question with empiric experience. :-)
It shows in which way files are opened, at which offset and which amount of data is read. And it has filter with desired process, so You will be able to monitor the AV's file accesses only.
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