How To Make Sure Downloads Are Safe Before Downloading Them

Downloading stuff from the internet is so common today that it is easy for you to download stuff with is infected with all kinds of viruses, malware or spyware. It is also possible that you download a malevolent file without your knowledge. So it is better to prevent malicious downloads rather than cure your system later.

If you are a beginner in the field of computer or a veteran, you will always feel the need to have newer apps to make your work easier. You will find loads of such stuff to choose from and download. But remember, there are such programs too that mess up with your system settings and even the operating system. Programs reach out to your sensitive information and can harm you this way.

downloading safe files

Scan links for viruses with VirusTotal

VirusTotal is a service that operates online. It scans your files and folders for any security breach. VirusTotal uses as many as forty various tools for this purpose. Files like PowerPoint presentations and PDF files look safe at face value, but can potentially damage your computer. Downloading files from unknown sources is very important.

Scanning links with VirusTotal

The following steps will tell you how to scan links with VirusTotal before downloading them.

When you open the link of the file, right-click on it. A pop-up menu will open. Click on “Copy link address”. This will copy the entire link of the file automatically. Now open virustotal.com. Navigate to “Submit a URL” tab. Paste the copied URL in the text box and click on “Submit URL”.

scan url in virus total

When clicked, the program starts working in the background. Virustotal will use a range of analysis tools to check whether the site is in the list of malicious sites. If the link looks safe, the files associated with the link are also more likely to be safe for downloading. But you should still cross-check.

To confirm the safety, click the link “View downloaded file analysis”. The link is at the top. Wait a bit and the next page will show you the results of virus scan of that particular file. If there is still nothing to worry about, you can safely download the file and use it too.

results

However, if the file is infected with the latest version of a malware, the scanners are likely to let it go unnoticed. However, these are rarest of the rare occasions. On the contrary, it is likely that a certain scanner may give an opposite verdict – claiming a file to be infected when it is actually not. In such a case, see what the other scanners are reporting. If the majority results claim that the file is safe, you may go ahead to download it.

VirusTotal also reports when the last scan was performed. The report will display the time and date of the latest scan. But if you want to be sure, you are free to reanalyze it. It will confirm that the file is safe for download. Use this method to check the contents of various sites from where you wish to download content safely.



Rekha Samavedula