Reasons You Should Be Careful About Downloads

If you use computers or devices, you realize that you should be Careful About Downloads. After all, a bad piece of software can impact your finances or your system’s performance, security, and privacy. But what types of threats use downloads as an attack vector? 

Exploitative Monetized Apps

Some apps use exploitative hidden monetization procedures to charge your credit card without your consent. Before you know it, you’re fighting with your credit card company to reverse the charges. Even longtime trustworthy apps can change after being bought out by a shady profit-driven company. 

Browser Hijackers

A browser hijacker download may be part of a free software bundle that quietly infects your machine. These potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) are frustrating to deal with because they’ll redirect your homepage, install toolbars, track your activity, and more. 

Computer Viruses

Compared to some particularly dangerous programs in the wild, viruses are relatively low on the threat scale. Still, a computer virus can destroy your data and even make it impossible for you to boot your computer. Avoid downloading unknown email attachments and unlicensed software, in addition to downloading a top cloud antivirus solution to protect your data from viruses.  

Stalkerware

You see a free word processing tool or some free security software on an app store and download it out of curiosity. What you don’t realize is that it’s stalkerware, which is a type of spyware that helps abusers, predators, and other threat actors stalk their targets. A potential stalker in your life can also trick you into installing the app by sending you a link. 

Scareware

Scammers use scareware to manipulate you into downloading malware or sharing your credit card numbers. For example, a tech support scam may start with a popup that claims you have ransomware and asks you to buy security software with your credit card. You usually get scareware from malicious websites. 

Cryptojacking Software

While cryptomining is lucrative, it has a considerable energy footprint. You need powerful computers and significant volumes of electricity to mine bitcoin and the like effectively. Unfortunately, some miners short on resources are using software to hijack people’s computers for cryptomining secretly. They may install malicious cryptomining software through corrupt links, so be careful about your downloads.

Trojan Horse Malware

Not many people are familiar with Trojans, even though they can be devastating. So, what is a Trojan horse virus, and how does it get on your system? For starters, a Trojan isn’t a virus; it’s a type of malware. As you may know, malware is any malicious software that threatens a system or a network. Some Trojans can steal your financial page logins, snoop on you, while others can infect your computer with nasty malware like ransomware. 

Trojans can be tricky because they hide behind software that appears legitimate. You can also get them from many legitimate platforms. For example, mobile security researchers found that users downloaded Trojan apps from the Google Play store that stole banking usernames and passwords 300,000 times. 

Even when you’re careful about the files you download, hackers can infect your computer using drive-by downloads. Always keep anti-malware software on your system for security. 

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