How The Practice Of Renaming Files Can Put You And Your Computer In Danger

There is a big difference between someone who uses the computer a lot and someone who really knows a lot about the computer. You see it play out all of the time in households across the country. The older people in the household will call in the younger member of the household and try to get them to diagnose what is wrong with the computer. They think that the person has the skill set to be able to tell them what is wrong simply because they play video games on the computer all of the time. Well that is just not how it works. It takes real skill to be able to tell what is wrong with a computer. And sometimes the fact that it takes so much skill to see what is wrong is a real detriment to the end user.


The bad guys will use the fact that it takes a sharp eye and real skill to be able to diagnose what is wrong with the computer to try and hide some of the tricks that they pull off. It is real easy to pull off some of these tricks if the victim does not even know that the computer can do some of these things. And if they do not know then they will not to look to see if something is wrong.

One trick that we see all of the time with regards to this is the fact is that the bad guys will change the label of a normal file. The label or name of the file is the text that you see when you look at the file itself. It’s how you know what the name of the file is. Well the bad guys have found out that it is really easy to get people to believe that they are downloading the right file just by naming it something else. And by naming it something else we mean the fact that they hide a piece of malware file and make it look like it is a legitimate file. Most likely the name matches the file that the person is looking for. But if you really pay attention to computers then you will see that there are a lot of signs that will warn you away from falling for these kinds of tricks. Let’s talk about a few of these signs.

The size of the file

The first thing that you should look at when you need to see if a file is fake or not is the actual size of the file. To see the size of the file all you have to do is right click on the file and then hit the word “properties”. Once you do that you will be able to tell what the size of the file is. If you are supposed to be downloading Photoshop and the file is only 2MB then you know it is a fake. And on the opposite end, if you are downloading a picture and it turns out to be 10mb then again you are downloading a fake. Unless of course it is a really high end, professional grade picture.

File extensions

Another way that you can tell a fake file is the extension at the end. If you are downloading a MP3 and it says .exe at the end then you know it is a fake. That is the extension of an executable (a program). An image, music, or video files should not have .exe at the end. Not all .exe are bad but in those formats they are.

You have to be careful when it comes to renamed files. When they are renamed that is usually the first red flag you should get about the file.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

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