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Virus Encyclopedia

Welcome to the Virus Encyclopedia of Panda Security.


Threat LevelLow threatDamageHighDistributionNot widespread
Common name:Sality.AK
Technical name:W32/Sality.AK
Threat level:Medium
Effects:   It carries out damaging actions on the affected computer. It does not spread automatically using its own means.
Affected platforms:

Windows 2003/XP/2000/NT/ME/98/95

First detected on:Oct. 8, 2008
Detection updated on:May 25, 2010
Proactive protection:
Yes, using TruPrevent Technologies

Brief Description 


Sality.AK is a virus that spreads to other computers by copying its code to other files or programs.


Sality.AK does not spread automatically using its own means. It needs an attacking user's intervention in order to reach the affected computer. The means of transmission used include, among others, floppy disks, CD-ROMs, email messages with attached files, Internet downloads, FTP, IRC channels, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing networks, etc.


Sality.AK uses the following infection strategies:

  • Resident: once it has been run, the virus goes memory resident and stops functions belonging to the operating system. Therefore, every time the operating system or an application tries to access any of these functions, the virus will activate and infect new files.
  • Stealth: when the virus is memory resident, it hides the modifications made to the boot sectors or files it has infected. These modifications are: changes in size, date, attributes, etc.
  • Encrypted: it encrypts its code in order to make it difficult to detect. In order to carry out its infection, the virus decrypts itself and, once infection has been carried out, it encrypts itself again.