How to Be Sure a File Is Safe to Download
We live in times when we are always concerned about the security and privacy of our data. A steep rise in malware attacks itself tells the story that our data is always on the verge of getting hacked. Yes, the antimalware programs available in the market protects us from these malware but we still need to be cautious at our end.
If we talk about, how a virus enters into the system? Then the answer is, via a file that we download from the Internet. It means, knowingly or unknowingly it is we who allow a virus to enter the system.
Therefore, to block a virus at its primary stage first be sure that the file you are about to download is safe and not going to harm your system in any way.
What Are You Downloading?
Yes, this matters a lot. If you are trying to download an illegitimate file or program then the chances are that you are downloading an infected file.
For example: If you are downloading a free version of any program that is available only as a paid version on its official site then it can be a trick to plant a virus or malware on your system.
Check Whether the Site Is Secured or Not
If you are downloading a file from an unsecured website then the chances of getting infected by a virus are high. Therefore, we suggest you to only download a file from a website that is HTTPS secured.
The security certificate is issued by an authentic certificate authority. Although it is not a guarantee that a file downloaded from an HTTPS secured website does not contain any virus, however the chances are quite minimal when compared to an unsecured site.
Check the User Reviews if Available
If you are downloading a file from a site that has a review or comment board, then have a deep look at those reviews. If the people that have already downloaded the files aren’t facing any problem then you can step ahead and download that file. Again, there can be fake reviews and comments but it is really not that much difficult to distinguish between a fake and genuine review.
Cautious with the Files That Come as an Attachment.
Recently it has been observed the hackers try to send the virus with the attachment they send in an email. The attachment itself contains an executable file or a script that if executed, can crash your system. Therefore, whenever you are downloading any attachment make sure that the real-time protection of your anti-virus software is turned on.
Check Whether File is Signed or Not.
Once you download and run the .exe file it automatically opens a UAC (User Account Control) nag. It contains the information that the file you are about to install is digitally signed or not. If you are installing an unsigned file then the name of the Verified publisher will be unknown.
Therefore, if a file comes from an unverified publisher, it is not safe to download and install.
Automatic Scanning of File:
While all the steps discussed above are manual steps, if you want the files to be scanned automatically then you can use VirusTotal.
Use VirusTotal to Scan a File
VirusTotal is open to use web platform where you can test any file before downloading it. If you upload a file to the servers of VirusTotal then it is analyzed by more than 60 various anti-virus programs. Moreover, if you do not want to upload a file then you can also enter its URL to scan for malware, viruses or any other infections.
If you upload any file and the after-scan results came out to be, “No engines detected this URL” then it means that the file is safe to download. However, in some cases if the file is detected by few anti-viruses over VirusTotal then it does not mean that file is not safe as this can be a false positive where a genuine file is incorrectly detected by an anti-virus.
Also Read: 5 Ways to Spot Scam Emails
Bonus Tip: Never set your flash drive to Autorun. Always scan it with updated anti-virus program before opening it.
So, guys, hope the above steps help you in staying secure whenever you are trying to download any file from Internet.