• Your IP: (VA, United States)
  • Your ISP: Amazon.com
  • Your Status: Unprotected
  • Get Protected

September 18, 2019

How to Tell if You're Using a Safe Download Source

Posted by

We download a lot. Music, movies, TV shows, books, apps, photos, and more. When the file is coming from a reputable location, you have easily accessible content saved to your devices. But, when it comes from an unsafe source, you open yourself up to all sorts of dangers, such as viruses, ransomware, and data hacks. The problem is, sometimes it can be hard to know if your download is safe or not. So, how do you know if you’re using a safe download source? There are a few ways:

  • Look for ads and pop-ups
  • Take a look at the URL
  • See if your browser trusts the site
  • Google it
  • Suspect incredible discounts
  • Be wary of requests for personal information
  • Don’t disable your firewall
  • Only use trusted sources

Look For Ads and Pop-Ups

While excessive ads alone aren’t a guarantee that a website is offering malicious content, it should be a warning sign. These ads mean that the site is prioritizing making money over providing a service, and they might not vet the sources of that money all too carefully. Any download button could be a spoof designed to load your device full of malware, putting your safety at risk.

Take a Look at the URL to Know if You Have a Safe Download Source

The URL of Hotbot’s blog is hotbot.com/blog, usually followed by the title of a specific article. It tells you the name of our company as well as which of our pages you’re visiting. However, a malicious website might have a web address that looks somewhat suspicious. Some things to look out for include the .com (or .org, .ca, etc.) being in the wrong place, the domain name seeming to be weirdly long, and a lot of punctuation between words to break up the name of the site. Not all of these things guarantee that a website is suspicious, but it can be a useful sign to watch out for when deciding if you have a safe download source or not.

See If Your Browser Trusts the Site

Many web browsers have safety features built in. One of those features can warn you if a website is unsafe. If your browser doesn’t let you into a site and gives you a warning along the lines of “the site you are trying to visit may be unsafe. Proceed anyways?” it’s generally best not to proceed unless you know for certain that the site is safe.

Google It

Unsafe downloads and scams happen all the time, if not to you than to someone else. If you’re unsure whether or not you have a safe download source, you can google it. Someone else may have shared a warning to stay away.

Suspect Incredible Discounts

If you find content from an unofficial source for an incredible discount, you need to suspect its safety. The website may be trying to entice you to download the content by making you think you’re getting an out-of-this-world deal, when in reality you’re about to give spam access to your device.

Be Wary of Requests for Personal Information

When you acquire online content, most of the time you can just press a button and away you go. But if, after pressing that button, you’re prompted to reveal personal information like your name, date of birth, address, and more, the website might be a phishing attempt designed to scam you out of personal details that they can use later.

Don’t Disable Your Firewall

If a download notifies you that it requires your firewall to be disabled to actually finish downloading, abort mission and definitely do not disable your firewall. The firewall is one of your best lines of defense against malicious content and by deactivating it, you put your device at considerable risk.

Only Use Trusted Sources

Finally, the best way to know if you have a safe download source is to use an official one. Use Google’s Play Store, Apple’s App Store, the flagship websites for big companies, and the like. By avoiding illegitimate download sources, you also avoid unsafe content that can put your online safety and privacy at risk.

To protect yourself further, browse the web privately and safely with HotBot VPN.

Posted by

More Blog Posts

Everyday online activities

January 21, 2021

3 Tips for Safe and Sound Everyday Online Activities

Would you ever leave your wallet out in the open in the middle of a busy street? Probably not. Most of us have cash, credit cards, and some of our most valuable ID tucked away in those small slots and pockets. Risking wallet theft is enough to upend a life. But did you know that […] Read more
Limits to private browsing

January 19, 2021

Privacy Tip of the Week: Understand the Limits to Private Browsing

Almost everyone uses private, or incognito, browsing at some point in their digital lives. It’s a convenient feature that enhances your privacy online. Most commonly, users take advantage of private browsing to access adult-themed content, look up possibly embarrassing medical issues, or shop for loved ones without the surprise being given away. Unfortunately, many people […] Read more
Privacy Tip of the Week: Don't Use Incognito Mode

January 15, 2021

Privacy Tip of the Week: Don’t Use Incognito Mode

Watching a steamy video? Searching up an embarrassing medical question? Looking for that perfect gift that you need to keep secret? Most people hide their browser history with incognito mode. The name generates an expectation of privacy. However, going incognito online actually doesn’t protect you as much as you may believe. While the setting stops […] Read more

Grab the limited deal now!

Our best price ever! Get HotBot VPN for 70% off today. Our app can be used on up to 6 devices at a time, doesn't limit speeds, and increases security and freedom when using the internet.

3 Year Plan



SAVE 70%

USD 359.64 USD 107.64

billed one time

1 Year Plan



SAVE 30%

USD 119.88 USD 83.88

billed every year

1 Month Plan



USD 9.99

billed every month

Get the HotBot VPN Mobile App.

Download our apps for iOS and Android