How to know what not to download from the internet

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How to know what not to download from the internet
How to know what not to download from the internet

You can download any file to your computer. Downloading files is a very common activity. You can download music files, videos, games and much more. However, downloading files is not always legal or safe. The downloaded files may include viruses or malware that harm your computer and are difficult to get rid of. Look for secure file extensions, correct digital signatures, and reliable software to keep your computer safe from potential threats.


Method 1 of 3: Downloading files

Know What Not to Download Step 1
Know What Not to Download Step 1

Step 1. Be careful with email attachments

Any file can be attached to an email, including a file with malicious code. To avoid infecting your system, pay attention to the following:

  • Insecure file extensions. Typically, malicious files attached to emails have the extensions.js,.vbs,.msi, and.reg. Most email services block such files, but be careful not to download (open) them.
  • Extensions for documents, presentations and spreadsheets. If the file extension ends with the letter "m", then such a file includes macros, and this is potentially dangerous. Some companies work with files that contain macros, but be careful with the.docm,.xlsm, and.pptm extensions.
  • Typically, safe extensions are.pdf,.docx,.xlsx,.jpg, and.png.
Know What Not to Download Step 2
Know What Not to Download Step 2

Step 2. Download files from trusted sites

Pay attention to the site from which you are going to download the files. If a site is created by a well-known company or organization and has existed for a certain period of time, it is likely that such a site can be considered reliable.

  • Files that contain viruses are dangerous. As a rule, the extensions of such files are.exe,.scr,.bat,.com,.pif.
  • Attackers trick users with double extensions. For example, if the file extension is.exe-g.webp" />
Know What Not to Download Step 3
Know What Not to Download Step 3

Step 3. Verify the digital signature

If the signature is valid, the file is most likely safe.

  • A digital signature is used to verify the authenticity and integrity of a message, software, or digital document. This is necessary to confirm the security of the file and its source of origin.
  • To view the digital signature, in the security dialog box, click on the publisher's link (in Internet Explorer, this window will appear when the file is downloaded). This way you can find out if the signature is valid.
Know What Not to Download Step 4
Know What Not to Download Step 4

Step 4. Submit the file for review

Even if the file is on a trusted site and the digital signature is in order, use an online service such as VirusTotal to scan the file.

  • Right-click on the link to the file and select "Copy Link" from the menu.
  • Go to and click URL.
  • Paste the copied link into the line and click "Check".
  • Click Analyze.
  • If no threats are found, the file is most likely safe and usable. If the file contains malicious code, the mentioned service will report it.

Method 2 of 3: Downloading Music Files

Know What Not to Download Step 5
Know What Not to Download Step 5

Step 1. Turn off file sharing

File-sharing clients, with the help of which you can illegally download almost any content, operate in peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, which involve file sharing, that is, music files stored on a computer will be available to many users. Turn off file sharing to keep your computer safe. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Click "Start" - "Computer".
  • Click on "Service".
  • Click Folder Options.
  • Click View.
  • In the Advanced Options window, uncheck the Use Sharing Wizard box.
  • Click OK.
Know What Not to Download Step 6
Know What Not to Download Step 6

Step 2. Avoid illegal activities

It is illegal to download files that are copyrighted for free. As a rule, this is done through file sharing clients. The most popular file-sharing clients are:

  • Limewire
  • Kazaa
  • Bearshare
  • BitTorrent
  • Ares
Know What Not to Download Step 7
Know What Not to Download Step 7

Step 3. Use safe programs

By working with file-sharing clients, you endanger not only your computer, but also yourself personally, because you can be prosecuted for illegal use of copyrighted content. The following programs will allow you to legally download music:

  • Ruckus
  • iTunes
  • eMusic
  • Amazon
  • Napster

Method 3 of 3: Download games, movies, or videos

Know What Not to Download Step 8
Know What Not to Download Step 8

Step 1. Don't trust communities

Whereas communities used to hack software to demonstrate their capabilities, they have now become bunches of spammers, virus writers, and attackers who steal information and empty bank accounts.

  • If you are connected to a peer-to-peer network, the information stored on the computer becomes vulnerable and easily accessible to an experienced cracker: he can easily obtain information about a bank account or any other important data.
  • It doesn't matter how often you play a game or watch a movie - if the file is downloaded through a file-sharing client, the information immediately becomes vulnerable. During the download of a file, malicious programs (keyloggers, Trojans, etc.) get to the computer, which open access to the computer.
Know What Not to Download Step 9
Know What Not to Download Step 9

Step 2. Download games through the appropriate programs

Although the games will cost more than a hundred rubles, downloading them will provide some benefits. For example, games can be downloaded from home, and then downloaded again if the file gets damaged for any reason. Use the following programs to download games:

  • GameFly
  • GameTap
  • EA Store
  • GamersGate
Know What Not to Download Step 10
Know What Not to Download Step 10

Step 3. Download movies through the appropriate programs

As with games, you have to pay to download movies, but most likely the price will be less than the cost of a DVD with a movie. Use the following programs to download movies:

  • Amazon
  • Netflix
  • Love film
  • Redbox Instant
  • Vongo
Know What Not to Download Step 11
Know What Not to Download Step 11

Step 4. Pay attention to what you buy

If you pay to download a movie, this does not mean that your actions are legal. The programs above can be trusted, but there are many other similar programs. If a program requires payment for downloading content, it is not a fact that it is reliable.

  • Don't download files from torrent trackers. These files are often hacked and therefore illegal. Even if torrent clients are designed to quickly download files, their use can lead to infection or compromise of your computer.
  • On untrustworthy sites, entertainment companies create links to dummy files. This is done in order to convince users not to open sites that violate copyright.


  • Download and install an antivirus. There are good paid and free antiviruses with different functionality (the choice depends on the needs of a particular user), for example, Avira, Norton Antivirus, Kaspersky Total Security, Bitdefender.
  • Scan the downloaded file with antivirus software. Do this before opening the file. Right click on the file and select "Scan File" from the menu.
  • Typically, videos, songs, or other types of files that are not created by you are copyrighted and free to download is illegal.


  • A virus entering the system along with a downloaded file can damage or destroy it, so never download suspicious files.
  • Ignorance is not an excuse for illegally downloading content. The illegal downloading of files is subject to a fine or criminal liability.

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