Downloading software and files online is one of the advantages of the internet, but if you want to make the most of your downloading opportunities you must be aware of the safety risks.
Whenever you are downloading files from the internet, whether they are music files, video, software or applications, it is important to protect your computer from infection by viruses. Downloadable files are one of the most common sources of dangerous computer viruses which can destroy your computer, so how can you ensure that you will not infect your system when downloading and installing them?
Here are some tips that will help you make sure that your files are safe:
Download From a Legitimate Site
Do you download files from obscure websites that you found randomly online or do you get your files and software from well-known legitimate sources? Downloading from a reputable website is a lot safer for many reasons. First of all, the big name websites will have antivirus measures installed on their sites to protect you. They are also easier to track down if you do experience a problem. Also, when you know that thousands of other people are using the website without problems you can be more assured that it is safe. Some of the main download websites include iTunes, Napster, Virgin Digital, HMV and MSN.
Look for Feedback from Other Users
Most websites that allow you to download files will also have a feature where users can post a review of the safety and the quality of the file. Before downloading a file, read the reviews about it from previous users. Avoid downloading files that have never been tested by other users, or files that have a negative rating or review.
Scan For Viruses
When you download a file, there are many things that you can do to protect your computer from any viruses that it might be carrying. First of all, make sure that you have a strong Firewall installed as well as reliable antivirus software. If you do accidently download something that is not safe, your antivirus program will be able to identify it and help you remove it as soon as possible.
Every time you download a file, perform a scan on it with your antivirus software. It will only take a minute and if the software detects any viruses it will quarantine them and delete them.
Watch Out for Incorrect File Extensions
Sometimes when viruses are hidden within downloads they will look just like the file that you are trying to download but will have an incongruous file extension. Keep an eye out for this as it can be a serious warning sign of a malicious file. For example, if you are trying to download music or images and you receive an .exe file you should be very suspicious.
Trust Your Instincts
If you come across a website which does not look legitimate or you are reading a description of a program which has features that seem too good to be true, it is probably a good idea to avoid it. Sometimes you can tell the difference between a legitimate download and a dangerous one so be sure to listen to your instincts when they are telling you that something seems fishy. Look out for broken links, bad spelling and grammar and lots of pop up ads.
Viruses will always be a risk whenever you are downloading files from the internet. While new viruses are being developed all the time and no one method will protect you from unsafe downloads, you can reduce the risk of viruses by practicing safe downloading.
Downloading files puts your computer at risk for viruses, so here are a few ways that you can keep your system safe such as installing McAfee Download.