Nothing in this world is without risk!
...certainly not Downloading.
There's always the risk that you might download something that damages your computer of your files, or spyware that allows strangers to access your confidential material or even use your computer for their own purposes.
The majority of sources are perfectly honourable, but those few who are not can cause you no end of problems! So here are a few simple rules
1: Security Software
Don't download anything until you've got reputable Security Software like McAfee or Norton installed.
(This of course should not prevent you downloading reputable security software!)
2: Check Out the Source Site.
Is it a household name?
If you're downloading something from Windows or Sourceforge or a well-known internet or high street retailer like Amazon or House of Frazer it's probably OK
Does it look professional?
If it seems superficial if basic don't download from it. If it is clearly well researched and presented then downloads from it are likely to be safe. Otherwise:
Check it out on the Internet
Do a search on the supplier's name. Look out for blogs or forums relating the experience of satisfied or dissatisfied customers. Have they experience problems with downloads?
If you are still uncertain type;'WHOIS' into your search engine. There are a number of free programs there you can use to see who owns a particular website. Use 'cut and paste' to make sure you have the exact web address even for what appears to be a well-known and reputable dealer: scammers often use 'near-mis-spells' of well known names.
3: Check out the File you want to Download
Does it Contain Executable files?
Executable files have file names with.exe', '.bat', '.pif', and '.scr'..
If it you does you should be very wary. Don't download it without running it past your security software.
Is it Big Enough?
There are usually several possible sources for the sort of software you want to download. If your choice is significantly smaller that the others, don't download it.
Is it Unexpected?
If you receive an E-mail from an unknown sender with a file attached, delete it immediately. That has 'virus' written all over it.
- Don't use the 'download' and 'install' options for anything other than downloads from the most famous and reputable sites - Google, Microsoft, McAfee, Norton, Skype. etc.
- Otherwise use the 'Download' and 'Save' option.
- If in doubt don't download.