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Downloader Beware: How to avoid Dangerous Downloads

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It’s no secret that downloading files on your mobile device can be hazardous. Some viruses and types of malware can piggyback on file downloads that you think are safe. How exactly do you avoid a dangerous download? Use the following tips below to reduce your risk of downloading dangerous files.

Be Sure You Trust the Source

Before you even think about clicking on a link in an email, on Twitter, or deep down in the depths of the Internet, be sure you trust where that link is coming from. Did you receive a business proposal via email? The offer might sound legitimate, but do you really know the person sending the email? If not, be wary. The tricky thing is that spammers can write out one URL and link to another, and that link could be leading you down a dangerous path.

If you ever find a link from someone you don’t know, first, evaluate the situation and consider if the link is worth checking out. Second, don’t actually click on the link. Instead, look at the URL. Those with https at the beginning are almost always best and most secure. If it looks trustworthy, then copy and paste the link into your browser. While it’s not a complete fail-safe tactic, it will reduce your chance of clicking on a link that downloads something dangerous.

If you receive a file via email that seems safe but is from someone you don’t know, check the size of the file first. Does the size make sense for the file? If it’s too big, it could mean there are dangerous components attached.

What about other sites? Even with reliable 4G phones,  there’s no guarantee that third-party sites won’t attack your device. Sites like Twitter are full of links, and it can be especially hard to determine where the link is going to take you since most URLs on Twitter have been shortened. Again, use your discretion and be sure you trust the source providing the link.

Pay Attention to the Apps You Download

When downloading mobile apps, it can be all too easy to assume the safety of the app and just click “accept” when it asks for permissions.

Do you ever look at the information you’re giving the app permission to access? It’s natural to think that apps in the iTunes store are trustworthy because you trust Apple, but with third-party software, that’s not always the case. Instead, follow these tips to  Look at what you’re agreeing to. 

If you’re giving permission for the app to access all sorts of personal information on your phone that it frankly doesn’t need, that’s one indication that it’s not trustworthy.

  1. Read the reviews. Don’t just look at the final rating. Actually read the reviews and look at problems people are having with the app. If people are having trouble making it work or they’ve had a bad experience with it affecting their phone, steer clear of the app.

  2. Research the developer. On the app’s download page, you’ll find the name of the app developer. Research them before downloading an app to see if they’re the official developer of the game or if you’re downloading a rip-off.

Scan Files Before You Download Them

If you’re still unsure about a file, use a virus scanner to check its safety before you download it onto your device. You can use a virus scanner on your computer, such as with the free service VirusTotal, which is owned by Google. Even your Android phone and other mobile devices can benefit from virus detection software.

However, it’s best to also be wary of virus detection software as some viruses will get you by disguising themselves as virus prevention programs. Be sure to read reviews and ensure the credibility of software like this before downloading it on your device.

Now that you have these ideas that can help you stay safe from dangerous downloads, what are the next steps that you’ll take to avoid downloading dangerous files on your device?


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