You must have heard about or read the “there is no such thing as free meal” philosophy. The concept applies the same way to free downloads and ‘Click Here to Get Rich Overnight’ type of deals. When we talk about free downloads, here is what normally happens: There is a huge potential of affecting your PC’s performance. There are hardcoded malicious scripts to “trick” the computer into performing unwanted operations etc.; the list goes on.
So important question is: Are free downloads really worth it? Yes, they are. You do take chances but with a bit of educated guesses and training, there is a wide selection of free downloads waiting to be explored. The important thing is not to download certain files that appear sketchy in even the slightest sense.
Sometimes it just happens that a person unintentionally downloads a program. He or she would be lucky if the download notification pops up after the installation is complete. In other cases, these downloads don’t even show up anywhere – a silent installation process runs in the background services menu, and that’s all it takes to compromise sensitive info on your device.
Registry Cleaners | Antivirus and Malware downloads:
There are variations of “Download Now” buttons and many ads on the internet that manipulate the users into commencing download sequences that aren’t even wanted in the first place. Some instances highlight visits to several websites where the “victim” is shown an alarming advertisement.
You must have seen the kind of ads that say, “Your PC has been infected with XXXXX number of viruses. Click here to download Blah Blah program immediately”. Such advertisements are heavily supported by animations that show scan operations on the run. The user is tricked into believing these animations – hence downloading and installing these programs is always a strong probability.
Same goes for Registry Cleaners and Antivirus programs. Even at highly credible platforms, such as; CNET, there are instances where people download a freeware antivirus, only to discover later that a completely different program tangled its way through the system’s hard drive.
Tips to avoid suspicious code/ Malware installations:
- Normally when you hover your mouse over a “Download Now” button, the browser always shows a link at the bottom pane of your browser. This URL is of significance importance as it pinpoints the exact location of the file that’s going to be downloaded.
- Instead of relying on downloaded apps, learn to maneuver around your PC through shortcuts. Why rely on “Quick ShutDown” applications when you can achieve the same result by pressing the “Window” button and then quickly pressing the “Right” key, followed by the “Enter” key.
What happens here is that whenever you press the “Right” key after the “Window” key is pressed, the keyboard highlights the “Shut Down” button. It is like a quick flight to shutting down your computer whenever needed during “crisis” situation. Don’t forget that.
- Windows Resource Monitor is another great tool to check in on the number of applications running on your computer. Moreover, the timestamps and memory shared by each application is also viewable through the WRM tool. Otherwise you can press “Alt+Ctrl+Delete”; the classic combination to open the Windows Task tab. See which application appears shady and why it is consuming system resources at an alarming rate.
Last but not the least, always keep a password creation and management strategy in your mind. Avoid the age old habit of writing passwords on sticky notepads, in electronic form or on a piece of paper. Passwords are something that everyone is passionate about. A mediocre hacker/cracker will always know where to look for passwords during such instances.