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5 mistakes to avoid when downloading files

3. You don't research applications via user feedback and reviews

Before downloading a program or a free application, make it a habit of seeking more information about it with an online search first. Check for the name of the program followed by keywords like "scam," "virus," or "safe" and see what comes up.

Do not rely on and trust reviews from the program's own site but do check multiple sources. Usually, repeated bad reviews and warnings from multiple sites and user forums are red flags that a particular application is not safe.

4. You download cracked or pirated software and files

Peer-to-peer file sharing is full of "unlocked" or "cracked" versions of paid software. It might be tempting to download these so-called torrent files of popular paid software but you are taking a huge risk each time.

Cracked software are highly modified versions of the programs you are supposed to be downloading. These are not checked by the legitimate publishers and hackers could pretty much inject anything in them. Software key generators are also applications by themselves and blindly running them could install more than you bargained for.

Also, beware of downloading pirated movies and music. These files are covered by copyright laws and downloading such files may get you in deep trouble with the authorities and could even land you in jail.

5. You don't check for sneaky bloatware

Now, even legitimate downloads from reputable sites have a habit of sneaking other applications or toolbars you don't need. These prompts usually occur either during the download or installation process. Keep an eye on bloatware like download managers, PC and registry cleaners, search toolbars or browser homepage alterations that they entice you to install.

Before you click "Next" on an installer, look out for check boxes that opt you into services by default and try to understand what the "Accept" buttons really mean. Bloatware installations count on the user being eager or careless.

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