How we keep GamesNostalgia safe from viruses and malware
Running a website with over 1000 games and over 2000 files places us in a position of great responsibility for the safety of the PCs and Macs that will download those files.
Our visitors are aware that GamesNostalgia is a meticulously curated website that does not spam or overburden its pages with aggressive advertising and only offers high-quality content. We want to keep our good name, and the last thing we want to hear is that someone got a virus after downloading a file from our website. That is why we take all necessary precautions.
The “safety” measures are summarized below:
1. Server-side generated packages
To begin with, the vast majority of the game wrappers available for download from GamesNostalgia were not created on a Windows or a Mac computer. They are generated on a server automatically.
The server runs Linux, which reduces the likelihood of the files becoming infected by a Windows or Mac virus.
On the server, a copy of the most recent versions of the required emulators (for example, FS-UAE for Amiga games) is saved. Because the emulator is transferred directly from the source website to our server, it cannot become infected during the transfer.
In most cases, this is also true for the original DOS or Amiga games. The Amiga “whdload” packages, for example, do not need to be downloaded on a client computer. They are directly transferred to the GamesNostalgia server, where the package is created. It’s all automatic, and even if a virus infects the computer I’m typing on, the game archives on the server will remain unaffected.
2. Packages created on PC or Mac
Some packages are processed remotely, while others require work on a PC or a Mac. This is the case with old Windows games (e.g., Hercules and Road Rash).
It goes without saying that both the PC and the Mac that we use are secure. We use Avira PRO on the PC and F-Secure on the Mac. After creating the packages, they are compressed and uploaded to the server. However, the initial antivirus check is not the only one; there is another security level, which is described in the following point.
3. Server-side antivirus check
Furthermore, ClamAV antivirus is installed on the Linux server where all of our files are stored. Every day, a cron job scans all of the packages. Because the virus database is constantly updated, old game archives are checked for new viruses on a regular basis. Only once in three years of GamesNostalgia has a package been reported as infected with malware. It was most likely a false positive; in fact, we downloaded and scanned the game, and it was clean. In any case, the package was uninstalled and replaced.
4. Worst case scenario
So the games are clean on the server, but what if hackers gain access to the server? Is that even possible?
Naturally, it is. We took all of the standard security precautions, but no server can be considered completely secure. If some malicious hackers decide to break into our server, they will be able to do so given enough time and resources. If they can hack Apple, Twitter, and other major corporations, why can’t they hack GamesNostalgia? If they get in, they might delete everything or infect some games with Melissa or other viruses.
To be honest, I doubt they’ll spend money trying to get in because we don’t have anything valuable to offer them. But suppose this does occur. Even if we don’t notice it (which is highly unlikely) and hackers infect a game, we will receive a flood of angry emails, and the website will be shut down immediately – I sincerely hope this never happens.
Why does Windows Defender report a trojan in our games?
So, if all of the above is correct, why do some people receive antivirus warnings? There is a term for this: “false-positive.” Because old games exhibit strange patterns to antiviruses, they may believe they are infected when they are not. We also discovered a bug in Windows Defender that prevents it from properly reading maximum compression 7zip archives. Windows Defender occasionally detects viruses/trojans/malware in our files, but these are false positives. Deactivate Defender, then download and extract the archive. You can then rerun a virus scan on the game folder. You’ll notice that the files are clean.
That being said, if you still don’t trust us, don’t download anything from this site.