The internet is overflowing with resources offering all kinds of free things. Whether you are looking for software, songs, videos, books, or any other kind of material, there is most likely a site offering free downloads of that asset.
However, just like how there are scams in the real world, the internet is also full of scams.
Not only will they steal your money, but they will give you files that do not work. They may be infected with viruses, malware, bots, and all kinds of other harmful software.
Downloading is easier than ever before, but it is challenging to find a good quality resource. Here are some tips to help you download your files properly.
All common internet browsers, including Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox have in-built security features. One of these features is to scan a website and alert the user.
You will get a pop-up or a notification screen telling you that the website you are trying to access is not secure. If this does happen, your best bet is not to visit that site, let alone download from it.
In some cases, it can be due to an error but only proceed if you are completely certain that the website is safe. Keep the standard security settings turned on in your browser for the best security.
Whenever you visit a website, you will notice a padlock sign in the address bar behind the ‘HTTPS’ in the address. This padlock indicates that your connection with this website is secure.
A lot of cybercrime that takes place actually happens through packet interception. Attackers intercept the packets of data moving from your computer to the website you are accessing.
If the padlock is not present, do not interact with that website in any way under any circumstance. Cybercriminals that are ‘sniffing’ the connection could inject malicious files into your download file and infect your computer.
A fantastic solution to packet security and improve your network’s overall security is to use a VPN. In the past they were expensive, but today you can get a year-long subscription for less than $50.
If you have a specific need, you can get the best VPN for MEGA, but for the average user, a general VPN that provides holistic security is also a great solution.
Most VPNs are available for computers and smart devices and use the same VPN. You can protect all your devices, and this will ensure that all data you exchange with the website, including your download files, will be transferred safely.
The first thing to look out for is the website quality you are downloading from. The layout, the language, the website structure, and the legal pages are all areas where you can find weak spots.
Generally, scam websites will not have a cohesive design. They will lack proper page structure, the language is often weak, and the layout is confusing.
When you click to download something, the website will often redirect to other sites or you will be flooded with pop-up ads and all kinds of unnecessary things that you never asked for.
If the website is difficult to navigate and you are a reasonably fluent user, it is best not to download and go elsewhere.
Do not be fooled by search engine rankings. Scammers can use many black-hat SEO techniques to rank higher in SERPs.
Download websites, even legit ones, are often populated with many links. This is because they are running multiple ads to monetize their website. You need to know which link to click on and which link to follow to initiate the download.
Pay attention to the different download links you see and only click on the one that leads you to where you want to go.
Another problem is that the website itself might be safe, but the file you are downloading might be infected.
Since the website is not always the manufacturer of the download material, it can be difficult to tell if the file itself is safe. The best solution, in this case, is to have a good anti-virus app installed on your system.
The anti-virus will scan the file once it is downloaded and alert you if there is anything you should be concerned about. Good quality anti-virus solutions will run a second scan when you open or execute the file to ensure no malicious code exists. With all these different precautions, you can be sure you will protect yourself at every stage of the download journey.