The Benefits and Risks of Software from the Internet
Got a flat tire? You will need a jack, a lug wrench, and a spare. Need to hang a picture? A hammer, nail, and level will set you straight. Almost any problem can be solved with the right set of tools. The same is true with your software on your computer. From writing an essay to preparing your monthly budget, from editing a picture of your cat to relaxing with your favorite shows, there is a wide world of software and tools available, moreso now than ever before.
Sounds good, what’s the catch?
Unfortunately, not everything goes right. Just like with a smashed finger from an attempted picture hanging with a sledgehammer, not every tool is fit for the job. Worse still, some software tool makers are malicious and add viruses to harm your computer and potentially even steal your identity. Sometimes, the program itself is made by a reputable vendor, but distributed by a seedy individual whose own malware hitches a ride to your computer. It is common for some sites to advertise free downloads for applications, games, or movies, but provide the user with malware, virus, and headaches instead.
How do I know exactly what I’m downloading?
It’s impossible to know exactly what will be installed before you actually launch the installer. Luckily, Google has your back! VirusTotal is a tool that has been developed and owned by Google since 2012. It will actually scan the link for you, using dozens of anti-virus engines, potentially sparing you from a nasty computer infection. It’s always worth having a solid anti-virus/anti-malware solution installed on your computer, just to be safe. You can scan the file using your anti-virus program, which will place it in quarantine if it finds infections.
Therefore, it is imperative that one follow the old adage, “buyer beware”, when downloading software from the Internet. If it seems “too good to be true”, it probably is. Despite the risks, there is a tool out there that does just what you need it to do. If you have trouble finding what you’re looking for, the tech experts at SandStormIT can help you find it. We can be reached at 901-475-0275.