Have you ever seen someone on Discord send you a file that seems interesting? Maybe you’ve seen a cool game cheat on YouTube that looks interesting. Often times, you’ll need to download the file in order to use it. Even if it’s just a “plain” .txt file. Be careful! They could be legit software disguised as malware, aka trojans. There are a number of ways to protect yourself from potentially malicious downloads.
Anti-viruses can be helpful, but they often falsely flag software that is created by the common community member. You could download software to secure your computer, use other software to identify malware or look for red flags. A huge bonus is the listed software is free.
As suggested in this linked post, you can do some research to see if it’s used. View the post to see some red flags before downloading your desired file. If there are no red flags, it would be wise to still take some safety precautions. Some software I use myself is listed below.
Note: This article is not sponsored by any of the companies owned by the software below
As stated by, https://sandboxie.com, ” Sandboxie uses isolation technology to separate programs from your underlying operating system preventing unwanted changes from happening to your personal data, programs and applications that rest safely on your hard drive.” In simple terms, Sandboxie store and runs data outside of your usual storage. That said, it can not manipulate your file tree unless you allow it. This is great for downloading short term files. If you need to safely download music, pictures, .jpg files, or .txt files, Sandboxie is definitely the way to go. You may experience issues with software such as editors as they will need access to your usual file tree.
Any other popular and trusted virtual machine such as VMWare can be used, but my personal preference is Virtual Box by https://www.virtualbox.org/. It essentially lets your computer host a virtual machine inside of the software. Like Sandboxie, all software downloaded to the Virtual Machine has no access to your actual computer. A hacker would never know its fake because it looks just like any other computer. Download and install Windows 10 to use it just like you would with your physical computer.
Downloadable at https://www.wireshark.org/, you can view all made network requests. It lets you fish out any odd request made from your device. Perhaps some fishy software is sending out a message to their server every time you log into Facebook. I don’t know about you, but that sounds off to me. Identify anything odd and delete the offending software.
Do make some further research and don’t rely on this software alone. This three software could help you in the event that you download suspicious software. Don’t trust anyone, maybe some big-time companies like Google, but not the common people! Sending viruses aren’t always on purpose, it could be an accident.