A Rigorous Plight: Malware and Video Downloads
As an IT specialist, I’m often asked how one can download their favorite videos without becoming a victim of malware. Unfortunately, cybercriminals and hackers are now employing sophisticated strategies to exploit internet users. They attach malicious software or “malware” to seemingly friendly packages like your favorite videos to infect your devices or gain unauthorized access to your sensitive information.
Malware, short for malicious software, refers to different types of intrusive software designed to disrupt computer operations, gather sensitive data, or access private computer systems without the owner’s consent. Types of common malware include:
- Viruses: These piggyback on user-initiated actions and embed themselves in files.
- Spyware: Stealthily gathers your personal information through your internet connection without your knowledge or consent.
- Adware: Constantly serves you unwanted ads and can redirect your searches to profit-making sites.
- Ransomware: Blocks access to your information and demands ransom to restore access.
These malicious programs come in various forms and from different sources, one of which is video downloads from the internet.
Knowing The Risks: Free Video Downloads
While it may be tempting to download that latest movie from a free website, such downloads often come with malware. These ‘free’ sites are the breeding grounds for viruses and spyware because most of them do not have secure platforms. Therefore, they are easily manipulated by cybercriminals. By downloading files from these sites, you expose your computer to the risk of malware infection.
Safety Measures: Preventing Malware Infections
Immunizing your devices against these potentially catastrophic infections is no herculean task. Here are few steps you can follow:
- Ensure your operating system, browser, and antivirus software are up-to-date: These updates often include patches for newly discovered security loopholes.
- Install a reputable antivirus program: An antivirus guards your system against threats and regularly scans your files for possible infections.
- Avoid suspicious websites: Do not download videos from untrusted and illegally broadcasting websites.
- Pay attention to file extensions: Files with extensions such as .exe, .vbs, or .lnk are likely malicious. Media files rarely use these extensions.
- Use a secure network: A compromised network can lead to a compromised computer.
Secure Alternatives: Safe Platforms for Video Downloads
A safer way to download videos would be to use verified platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Hulu. These platforms provide legal and safe content for their users. While they may sometimes come with a small subscription fee, it is a much cheaper price than a potential malware infection would cost you.