I had to slot in this extra post today as I noticed several comments about 4shared, here on the blog and posted around the Internet. Lots of people are worried about picking up a virus or Trojan from downloading via 4shared. So, I decided to try find out a little more about the problem, because no one wants a nasty little monster creeping around their computer!!!
First though let me say that we should NEVER depend on luck to keep our computer safe...that's what Virus scanners are for. It's up to us all to have an antivirus program protecting our PCs and to make sure that we keep it current with regular updates. Your antivirus program should do this automatically for you, as long as you have your computer on each day. Make sure it is scheduled to do this daily.
It doesn't matter what sites you visit...you need protection at all times on the Internet!! So do a regular scan of your PC to make sure that you catch everything that tries to sneak through. There is no point in having the software if you don't use it correctly, so don't get fed up when the scan is running because it's slowing down your surfing...just let it do it's job and don't click the Cancel button!!
Now, back to 4shared!! The problem appears to be not from the files you are downloading, they get scanned first, but from the download pages that have advertising on them. It looks like some lovely little tike is having fun planting and playing on these.
It seems that the problem on 4shared comes from the pages with ads etc where you click and then wait several seconds for the download. You know, you click to download and then it takes you to a new page which counts down the seconds before you can download the file you want. The idea being that then you see the ads whilst you wait.
My downloads are direct, meaning you don't go to a 4shared page but get a small popup box to download from there. This is only available if you have a subscription to 4shared though. You never go to a 4shared download page to wait. But I do understand peoples concerns in not downloading my files.
How large the problem really is, is impossible to guess. It only takes a few posts in forums or blogs and news travels like wild fire so that it seems huge, often it's not.
Something we all should do is develop good habits when download files. Make a quarantine folder and always download all files into it. This means you can scan them again before you unzip or move them to where you want on your hard drive. A bit more work I admit but I believe in belt and braces here...you can never be too cautious. Do this with ALL files you download no matter where they are from...yes even mine!!
But remember viruses can get you anywhere, anytime, any place...so to increase you chances of staying safe always:
- Make sure that you have a good antivirus program installed on your computer and keep the program up dated.
- Scan you system regularly for any nasties, once a week at least do a full scan.
- NEVER open up any popup windows that offers to scan your system that just appear.
- NEVER open a file or unzip a file you don't recognize.
- Take extra care or avoid sites that are known to be laden with viruses or malware, such as Facebook or My Space. (Sorry folks it's true, my kids used to get them regularly from these!!)
- Make a "quarantine file" for your downloads and always scan zip files before you open or move them.
If you follow the basic rules it won't guarantee you always stay clean but it will certainly help cut down on the chances of catching something nasty out there!!
Having said all that...don't become paranoid..there are lots of wonderful places awaiting you on the Internet that are safe. It's just a case of using common sense measures to try to lower the chances of catching a virus...a bit like a flu jab to help lower the odds of us getting the flu in Winter!!
Stay safe and I hope this helped.