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ButchWarhawk

Is Second life safe to download? EDIT

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So long as you download it from the official website, you should be OK.   I've been dowloading it from https://secondlife.com/support/downloads/ for the last 4 years without mishap.   

Just seen the edit.   Yeah, some anti-virus software is prone to giving false positives.   I've used both AVG and Avira over the years, and neither of them have ever raised any complaints about the SL viewer or any of the third party viewers I've installed, but I know some anit-virus programmes are far too agressive and given to raising false alarms.  Norton has a wiki entry all of its own: https://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Helpful_tips_about_antivirus_software

The way it seems to work is, the programme says, "Aha.. the SL installer is doing something that both a legitimate programme and  a virus might be expected to do.. let's sound the alarm,  just in case it's a virus."    It's not because it thinks the viewer has any viruses in it; it's just because it doesn't know anything about what the installer is trying to install and thinks its behaviour might be suspicious.   It isn't, though.

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So long as you download it from the official website, you should be OK.   I've been dowloading it from https://secondlife.com/support/downloads/ for the last 4 years without mishap.   

Just seen the edit.   Yeah, some anti-virus software is prone to giving false positives.   I've used both AVG and Avira over the years, and neither of them have ever raised any complaints about the SL viewer or any of the third party viewers I've installed, but I know some anit-virus programmes are far too agressive and given to raising false alarms.  Norton has a wiki entry all of its own: https://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Helpful_tips_about_antivirus_software

The way it seems to work is, the programme says, "Aha.. the SL installer is doing something that both a legitimate programme and  a virus might be expected to do.. let's sound the alarm,  just in case it's a virus."    It's not because it thinks the viewer has any viruses in it; it's just because it doesn't know anything about what the installer is trying to install and thinks its behaviour might be suspicious.   It isn't, though.

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In addition to Innula's good anwser, not only Second Life official viewer is safe but third party viewers such as Phoenix and Firestorm are absolutely safe too. They are approved by LL. I have never heard of someone having security or viruses issues with any of these viewers.

http://www.phoenixviewer.com/downloads.php

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The viewer files are as safe as any EXE file. The EXE file means it is a program. There are; Trojans, maleware, spyware, ad-ware, and virus programs that come as EXE files as well as legitimate programs.

Some anti-virus programs warn about any EXE file you download. When the file is downloaded the anti-virus can examine it for viruses, Trojans, and etc.

If you just try to run an EXE from the net, some anti-virus programs assume you know what you are doing and allow it. Others prevent it. It is risky to run EXE's directly from the net. Download them first so your AV can scan them.

As the viewer, or any EXE, is downloaded anti-virus programs are scanning the file for known viruses and maleware. Most also scan for suspicious code or code that does virus like things. Figuring out what is and is not a virus or maleware can get complex. So, there are false positives and missed viruses. Often you have to make a judgment call. Short of being able to review the actual program code, one makes a judgment based on whether they trust the source they are getting the EXE file from.

Viewers are not absolutely safe. We have had 3rd party viewers that were a scam to rip off your account password. Some judgment is required in choosing a viewer. If you are a paranoid, use only the Linden Lab supplied viewer.

Any viewer can have exploits. Just as web browsers can be exploited so too can viewers. The viewers for SL have internal web browsers. You can change a setting in Preferences to use your preferred web browser as an extnal browser. In which case the viewer just passes the URL to your web browser. I can't see where one is safer than the other. As far as web browsers go, Google Chrome has the reputation as being the safest browser available.

We have had scams in which people figured out ways to use the viewer and/or its browser to exploit or infect the user. As those exploits are found they are fixed, just as they are for web browsers. Word gets around pretty fast about scam viewers. So, if you are undecided, ask here, as you did, about any viewer you are curious about. 

We have had highly popular viewers turn out to have user exploits. We have had open source viewers in which the developers were able to hide code via obfuscation that exploited the user. So, there are no easy ways to KNOW a viewer is safe other than by reading the code and compiling the viewer on your own. But, that is far to tedious for most.

In general... the viewers are safe. But, not all viewers. You can always type a viewer name into Google and look for reviews. That will usually return the information you need to make a decision. Example search: Dolphin viewer review

Viewer developers and viewers that have been around for a long time and have a good reputation are good criteria to base a decision on.

We have a list of Third Party Viewers. The Lab explains on the page that there are no gurantees. Use the viewers at your risk. I think the risk in using the listed viewers is small, but that is only an opinion.

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I would give Nalate's reply a hundred kudos if I could! This is a very well thought out and balanced presentation.

 

For me, and hundreds of thousands of others, the Second Life viewer, and many other third party viewers such as Firestorm, are worth the very small risk of using them. It's always a tradeoff...there are risks involved with using the Internet at all! You take risks every time you drive your car, too. But we accept those risks because the benefits we get outweigh them.

 

So yes...the *possibility* of something bad happening is there. It's just very, very unlikely.

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ButchWarhawk wrote:

whenever I try to download those my virus protector ALWAYS warns me about how Exe. files are more prone to be filled with viruses.

Time to switch antiviruses to something that isn't scareware.

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I'm not too sure about it being safe. When I opened my computer (I put it on sleep earlier) I got stuck on it and couldn't log out. When I tried to click ''Try again'' it wouldn't go, the second life window just got larger around my screen. I had to restart my computer and eventually delete it. My computer has an automatic virus-free program, and it didn't warn me about this. 

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It's safe. Sounds like you have some unresolved driver issues. Specifically, make sure openGL support is working properly on your system, iGoatie.

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