How to download and install free software safely

Sometimes software downloaded from the internet can hide malware and viruses, which are difficult to detect. Here's how to avoid getting hit by hackers

Hackers use different tools to inflict their attacks. However, they can hardly do without the unwitting cooperation of their victims. One of the most popular methods of tricking the victims is to hide malware and viruses in some programs.

They are often freeware software distributed on insecure Internet platforms. Users, enticed by the possibility of downloading them for free, instead risk installing one of the many threats that infest the web on their computers. Cyber criminals are very clever. Malicious codes are inserted into seemingly legitimate programs. As a result, antiviruses struggle to detect the malicious source. As a result, the worm contained in the software downloaded from the Internet gets wedged into the victims' machine and starts its dirty work. The dangers in such cases are many and depend on the installed malware variant.

Avoiding installing freeware programs is almost impossible. You can find really many of them on the net and they are also very useful, sometimes more than their paid forms. You could try to be more careful by implementing some simple tricks.

Be clever

The main weapon against malware and viruses is to try to be a bit more clever, avoiding to fall into the hackers' trivial traps. Some examples will help us to clarify the concept. If you receive an email from an unknown sender asking you to try a free program and providing you with a link to click, don't be naive. Do not open it. It is very likely that the link will direct you to a server where you will download not free software but malware.

No to insecure platforms

Normally, most people, when they need a free program, open the browser and start searching. It is at these stages that you are likely to stumble. Indeed, not all platforms that host freeware programs are reliable. Just as not all software available on the web is harmless. In these situations, it is advisable to question the net. Follow the opinion of other people. Try to find out if malware is hiding behind a certain software or website. Do not download the first free program you find.

Be careful about the buttons you click

Frequently next to the button that allows you to download the program,

there are other buttons that look like the original one. Falling into the trap is very easy. These are usually ads, which are artfully created just to deceive the victims. Moreover, to confuse the user, the fake downloads are much bigger than the real ones. In most cases, the banners lead to sites that do not promise anything good. Convinced that they are downloading the program they are looking for, they click on the link and install one of the many dangerous malware instead.

Beware of installers

Even the most secure platforms can pose a risk to users. The problem is always one: they need to make money. After all, nothing on the Internet is completely free. Apart from advertising, another way that the managers of these sites use to raise money are installers. These are programs of dubious, and sometimes dangerous, usefulness in which the software to be downloaded is placed. In practice, users, along with free software, must also download installers. Be wary, on the net there are other sites from which you can directly download the desired programs.

Let's say that the only alternative is to use the installers: you should be very careful what you accept. Read everything well, but really everything, before continuing with the installation. In these cases, it is better to opt for the customized installation, avoiding to select everything that you consider useless and suspicious. It is advisable, however, to spend a few more minutes and find the software without the installers than to risk unpleasant surprises.

Use Online Antivirus

It is also very useful to check the downloaded files before proceeding with the installation using antivirus. Downloading a malicious file is, however, a bit risky. The best way is to resort to numerous online scanners, which allow you to check whether or not the program contains malware without even downloading it to your computer. Or there are other resources, also available on the net, that allow you to check the integrity of the program.