Cloud storage is everywhere. Companies and committees share documents and notes over Dropbox, specialists and experts publish data on Google Docs, and the list goes on. Many devices we use in the home now get regular patch updates from remote servers, and management software like the kind used for printers is often acquired from producer websites. With how easy it is to store and share information online, it’s no surprise to find the average internet user interacting with file downloads at least a few times per week, if not far more.
The dangers of downloading files from a remote source are well known and publishers, security systems, and network administrators have gotten pretty good at rooting them out. Yet whenever you add another file to your computer from a source you don’t control, even an official one, there is always a chance, however remote, that a malicious program can get into your device through that download. These programs could be anything from bloatware that loads popup ads on your desktop to viruses that completely destabilize your device.
Fortunately there are several tricks, practices, and protection services you can utilize to keep your devices safe even when you need to interact with unknown parties to get what you’re looking for: