Music is a common download there are billions of audio files to download and they can found on thousands of websites. But at the same time, the popularity of audio files is also a problem – hackers sometimes implant viruses onto the files so that they can infect your computer.
So, stay safe! These tips will significantly reduce your chances of downloading bad files.
Choose a reputable source
Many websites that offer music files aren’t very safe. Some demand personal information before you can download the file. And, as described above, they might also download virus files onto your computer without you knowing about it.
This is especially true of P2P programs. These programs are often full bad files that can destroy your computer. Be sure to research the website before downloading anything. If the website looks or feels weird, then it’s probably best to avoid it.
Stick with reputable sources such as iTunes or Amazon.
Find online reviews
If you found a music file on a website that you aren’t familiar with, then look for reviews of the website. Don’t look for reviews that talk about features and song selection. You should specifically look for reviews that mention viruses and malware.
If you find any reviewers saying that malicious files are on the website, avoid it. Downloading just one file could destroy your computer.
You should still be cautious if you don’t find any bad reviews, but scanning the files with your antivirus program should reveal any viruses. (Keep reading for more about that.)
Free downloads = free trouble
If you’re like most people, then some or all of your audio files were probably downloaded for free. Unfortunately, virus writers provide many of these free files. That’s because spreading a virus is much easier this way since people are more likely to download free files.
While there are certainly a few exceptions, most websites that make you pay for your downloads don’t have viruses. This is because they usually get the music files directly from the artist or their recording label.
If you really want to avoid viruses, then consider paying.
File size is a clue
Check the size of the file before downloading it. While there are some audio files that are very tiny, the vast majority are around 2MB to 5MB. Files that are much smaller than this, such as 100KB to 250KB, are often text files. The vast majority of viruses are nothing more than text files with malicious coding. If the file size is weird, then avoid the file.
Avoid extra downloads!
Some websites require you to download extra programs before you can start downloading music. If you are using a paid service like Rhapsody or iTunes, then this extra download is generally safe. However, if you’re using a free service, then you should probably avoid the extra download, as it might actually put a virus on your computer. Many of these additional programs give malicious programs a lot of control over your computer.
Having an antivirus program is essential when downloading files from random websites because it can protect you on two fronts. The first thing that it can do is scan the file before you download it to see if it has any viruses or suspicious coding on it.
If the virus tricks the scanner and gets onto your hard drive, or if a virus downloads to your computer as soon as you visit the website, then the antivirus program can protect your computer from damage by neutralizing and removing the virus.
There are thousands of websites that host music files. While many of them are safe, there are just as many with at least a few infected files. If you want to keep yourself safe, then you just have to be cautious. Don’t download files without scanning them and researching the website. You should also use paid services because they are much less likely to host infected files.