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Precautions to take when installing Free Downloads

Precautions to take when installing Free Downloads
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There are plenty of free downloads available on the internet. Most of these free downloads are games for entertainment, system maintenance tool, productivity tools and even there are newly developed Apps which the programmer or manufacturer is offering for free to get market exposure.

At times, installing these free softwares carry their own risk. These software’s can be carriers of malware or adware programs. Sometimes the software is poorly coded which lead to loop holes which can be utilized by a malware or hacker to exploit the system.

Here are some precautions to take before installing free software.

  1. Use a security software for basic protection

A security software is a minimum requirement for any computer especially if it is connected online.

  • Keep the computer protected using a security software. A complete security software suite which apart from basic virus and malware protection have advanced features such as online banking protection, phishing filter, social network protection etc is ideal. Usually these are premium softwares. But if you don’t want to spend much on these softwares, try the free ones. You can also use the basic protection provided by Windows Defender. Once in a while, it is also recommended to do an online virus scan. Even though online scans are not effective in removing infections, they might be able to point towards infections that was not caught by the installed security software. But never leave the computer unprotected.
  • Security softwares can be very handy. It can do a scan and detect if there is any suspicious software downloaded or copied anywhere inside the computer. It can also detect a suspicious file at the time of download itself and warn you in advance.
  • Once the security software is installed, make sure the software is always up to date. Also schedule a periodic scan based on how often you are online and download stuffs from internet.
  1. Check software or game manufacturer reputation

It will be a good idea to check the software or game reputation, before downloading and installing a program.

  • If you have not heard about a software or the manufacturer, check the reputation online before installing.
  • If a website is offering guaranteed profits which is too good to be true, it’s a good idea to check if there are others who reported any problems with the service providers. Usually when a scam happens, there will be victims before you who may have shared this information online. Dont always go through positive reviews, go for the negative as well as that will have the right information on what to expect from a software or service provider. This will save you from getting into scams.
  • If the free download is a game like gambling or casino, check if the service providers have a proper license. Also check from which country is the game hosted? Some countries have a reputation for running online scams. Knowing these details reduce the chance of you getting scammed.
  1. Remove Adware while installation

Ads are a source of income for their developers. So they incorporate these Adware inside the installation file. These Adware gets installed at the time of installing the software. Adwares are not dangerous as threats like virus or trojans, but sometimes considered nuisance when they display ads and pop ups frequently. If careful, you can prevent most of these Adware’s from getting installed in your PC.

  • Most of us are used to clicking next button continuously to complete installation. One of these next button is meant to install a program other than the original software, which usually is an Adware program. So read carefully on what is getting installed. If it is something you don’t need, skip installing that program and proceed with installing the original program.
  • If you suspect an Adware was installed even after taking precaution, you can always remove it from Programs and Features / Add-Remove Program. (Adware can only be installed using Add/Remove program. So it can be removed from Programs and Features.) Go through the list of installed programs, uninstall if you find any Adware listed.
  • The presence of Adware can lead to frequent pop up. Be careful, even if you are trying to close it. Sometimes accidentally clicking on one of these pop ups initiates downloading malicious scripts or files to your computer.
  1. Wary of emails

  • Before downloading free downloads, you might be asked to share your email id. Yes, not everyone spam your inbox, but you can’t expect the same from everyone. Be careful when you share your personal email.
  • There is no harm in opening and reading the contents of these spam email. But it is dangerous if these mails come with attachment. Never download or install files from attachment. If the attachment claims to carry an update or modified version of software, try downloading it from website than from an email attachment.
  • Don’t unsubscribe spam mails. By clicking on unsubscribe, you are confirming that your email id is valid. This will lead to receiving more spam mails. Instead of unsubscribing, it is better to mark these mail as spam so that it won’t be delivered to your inbox.
  • Do not click on any links inside these spam mails. They are designed to extract bank details, social security number etc. Even if you have to enter these details, confirm if the sender is genuine and also the webpage is encrypted.

Use the comment section for feedbacks or any queries.

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About the author: Anup Raman A Tech Enthusiast|Blogger|Tech Trainer with 10+ yrs experience in the field of IT. My expertise are in Operating Systems, mainly Windows and Computer security which comes from my experience, working as Tech Support and Trainer for Microsoft, Symantec and McAfee. Loves blogging about Technical Troubleshooting, discussing latest Gadgets, Games and doing Reviews.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Raphael Mar 4, 2015, 1:50 pm

    Anup,
    You write about the tech stuff, which can appear complicated and difficult to grasp, with SIMPLICITY that makes it EASY to Understand. It is a skill! Thank you.
    I meet on my Tech Journey newbies and as always new stuff comes up all the time in a way am perpetual newbie myself 😉
    Therefore … I am going to “exploit” your skill and your articles not only for myself, but also by directing newbie associates to your resources, saving my time of explaining things to them when situation calls for instructions.
    I will make a few requests for some more articles, unless I find them already written (by travelling into the future 😉 ).
    Thank YOU.

    Raphael

    • Anup Raman Mar 6, 2015, 12:29 pm

      Thanks Raphael for your kind words.
      Yes, if there are any topics which comes under my expertise that you want me to write on, let me know. I can do that.

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