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How to Avoid Downloading Viruses

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Azie avatar Azie
Retired Moderator
Level 55 : Grandmaster Grump
When you're looking for Minecraft content on Planet Minecraft, you might not know everyone whose stuff you want to download and try. There are some super simple ways to make sure what you're downloading isn't a virus. Here are some tips to help keep you safe when downloading:

1. Who is the person posting? Is their account new or old? Do they have a lot of posts or only a few? What level is their account? Check their Activity on their profile for comments or downloads on others' posts. An active account is more likely to be a person posting safe content instead of a throw-away posting viruses.

2. Is the thing you want to download popular? Look at the date it was posted and check out some of the stats on the page like how many times it was downloaded by others, how many upvotes/diamonds/likes it has, and how many people have favorited or bookmarked the post. Higher numbers and older post times can give clues to the safety of a post.

3. Read some comments. Are there a lot of comments on the post? What do they say? Are the people making the comments brand new accounts with no profile picture or do they interact with the community the post is in and have stuff on their profile? Comments are like reviews and they can give you a lot of information about what you're wanting to download.

4. Know your file types. If someone is posting a save file, it should be stored in a compressed folder like a .zip or .rar. Be extremely wary of any executable files types (.exe or .jar files) where they aren't normally seen. Keep in mind that .jar files can act as both an executable recognized and runnable by Java and as a compressed file you can open with applications like 7zip or Winrar-- two specialized, free programs commonly used to open compressed files.

5. Unshorten download links. Is there a super short link in the download box? It might be shortened. Link shorteners are often used to make a long link fit nicer on a web page. They are also often used when the person posting wants to make some money off of their download. Some link shorteners contain predatory and often malicious ads, like Ad.fly. By unshortening a link you can see where the final download is. I use Unshorten.It.

6. Don't download from websites you aren't familiar with. If the person giving the download is using a site you're unsure about, don't click it. Some of these sites use gibberish in their addresses because they're known for spreading viruses and get blocked often by other websites. Mediafire, Dropbox, and Mega are some common file hosts that a lot of people on our site use.

7. When in doubt, get out. Listen to your gut. If you're uncomfortable, don't click it or download it.

02/21/2021 12:00 pm
Level 30 : Artisan Magical Boy
WannabeTommyInnit avatar
Thank you :)
Btw, ever heard of obfuscation?
02/21/2021 4:04 pm
Level 55 : Grandmaster Grump
Azie avatar
Yes? I'm not really sure what your intent is by asking that though. It comes off as an insult to me, like you're saying my writing is unintelligible or something. Could you elaborate?
02/21/2021 6:18 pm
Level 30 : Artisan Magical Boy
WannabeTommyInnit avatar
I'm not talking about your writing. It can be used as a way to hide code, like obfuscating malware's source code. It's another way that "developers" can hide malware in their code.
02/21/2021 6:47 pm
Level 55 : Grandmaster Grump
Azie avatar
Of course, but that doesn't really apply to people that this blog is aimed at. Someone who is aware of obfuscation is probably already well aware of how to think critically about downloads, imo.
02/18/2021 10:44 pm
Level 42 : Master Modder
BladeZNick avatar
Very useful tips, stay safe out there everyone!
02/15/2021 2:16 pm
Level 40 : Master Enderdragon
SouthDakotaGirl avatar
This is so useful. Thank you!
02/14/2021 6:13 pm
Level 25 : Expert System
Pixus avatar
Despite that you may be retired, it warms my heart to see a friendly post like this.
02/14/2021 6:03 pm
Level 44 : Master Nether Knight
Wannabe FallOutBoy
Wannabe FallOutBoy avatar
thank you for caring so much for our safety on the internet !
02/14/2021 5:58 pm
Level 33 : Artisan Loremaster
ShadowFallYT avatar
I will be more careful thanks to this! 😊👍
02/14/2021 5:49 pm
Level 44 : Master Procrastinator
Twixxed avatar
Thank you for sharing this <33
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