If you frequently download media like songs and movies from the Internet, then you might be putting your computer at risk of being infected. Many hackers implant viruses and malware into these files. While it can be difficult to distinguish safe files from infected ones, there are many things that you can do to improve your safety online. Just follow these tips to keep your computer as safe as possible when you are downloading media.
Use Antivirus Software
As stated above, you can’t tell good files from bad ones. While there might be clues and hints, the only concrete way to know is to use antivirus software. Most of these programs will scan files before you download them to see if there are any viruses. If the program finds anything, then don’t download the file. You will find that many media downloads are infected with some sort of malware.
Antivirus software serves a dual purpose. If you have any infected media files on your computer, then this software can remove the viruses and protect you from their devastating effects.
There are millions of websites that host media files, but many of them have at least a few infected files that might damage your computer. Read reviews about the website to see how safe it is. For example, if you see many reviews stating that the website is full of infected movies, then you should stay away from it.At the same time, don’t solely rely on this safety measure. Many hackers manufacturer reviews to ensure that people feel safe when they download files. This will just help you find any initial red flags.
Not every infected file has a devastating virus that will melt your hard drive or make your screen explode. Some files just have simple cookies that will track your online activity. The information gathered by these cookies can be sold to marketing and advertising agencies, or the hackers might use the gathered information to make it easier to infiltrate your computer. Be sure to clear your cookies on a daily or weekly basis if you download a lot of media.
Don’t Offer Information
You might notice that some websites ask you for certain information before you can download any files. This might seem harmless because the websites typically ask for your birthday, name or email address. While this doesn’t seem dangerous, you should never offer information in exchange for downloads. The best outcome is that your email address will be sold to agencies that will send you a lot of spam. The worst outcomes are that your computer will be hacked or your identity will be stolen.
Check File Size
Check the file size before downloading anything. A song is typically about 2MB to 5MB and a movie is usually between 1GB and 2GB. If you see a media file that is significantly smaller than this, then it might be a virus. Virus files are typically very small because they are just lines of text that can hurt your computer. This can be a little harder if you are downloading books because they tend to be small, but you should be able to tell the difference because most virus files require very little memory.
Update the Browser
Make sure that your browser is updated to its latest version to minimize infections. Outdated browsers typically aren’t as secure. If you are encountering many pop-ups and other windows when you are browsing, then it might be because you have a minor virus. You can easily fix this by going to the browser’s main website, downloading the newest version of the program and installing it. Your computer should also tell you when a new version of the software is available. This isn’t the strongest defense against viruses, but it will make it harder for the malware to affect your browser.
Staying safe while downloading media files isn’t that difficult. Just download some antivirus software, update your browser, find reviews for the website and check the file size before downloading anything. If you follow all of these tips, then you will dramatically reduce your chances of encountering a virus while downloading media files.