Nothing’s worse than downloading software and fully trusting that it’s a safe file, only to later find out that it contained malware. These days, you really never know what you’re downloading or how it could affect your device going forward. It’s an unfortunate situation all around.

You might think you know what to look out for when downloading software to ensure it’s safe, but do you really? Below are some signs that the software you’re downloading is actually malware.

1. You Downloaded It From A Sketchy Website Source

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So, the funny thing is, you want to download a Microsoft file. However, the software for download isn’t on the actual Microsoft website but a third party website. That’s a potential red flag right there.

Especially when software is coming from a popular brand, it’s always best and safest to download it from the actual company’s website. It makes little sense to go through a third party source, even if they have a “free” version of the software. (Newsflash: it’s probably not safe to download; that’s the catch!)

2. Malware Scanner Detects It As Malicious

Prior to downloading software, you can check to see if it’s safe via a malware scanner. If it detects it as malicious, even if the results aren’t for certain, it’s still not worth the risk of downloading.

3. People Report Issues With The Software In User Reviews

Look online for reviews from people who downloaded the file from the same source you’re considering downloading from. Are they complaining of computer problems after downloading? Are they warning others that they got malware after they downloaded the software? Red flag once more.

person using computer

Checking the verified publisher of software is so simple and so quick to do. If you notice an unrecognizable name as the verified publisher, it might be best to avoid the download or conduct further research on the verified publisher first.

5. It Seems Suspicious When Running It On Windows Sandbox Feature

Try running the software on Windows Sandbox feature first before downloading it and running it on your actual device. Any signs of suspiciousness are a sign not to download.

6. The Website The Download Is On Isn’t Secured With SSL/TLS Certificates

Usually, a website can be trusted if it has current SSL/TLS certificates, which can be noted by a security padlock icon in the address bar and/or HTTPS in the website’s URL. If it lacks such, it might not be a trusted source.

7. Your Computer Is Acting Up After Downloading The Software

Man using computer

Did you already download the software and believe it gave your device malware? Signs of malware might include difficulty turning on or off your computer, a slow or laggy device, lots of pop-ups on your computer, or frequent crashing.

If you believe the software you downloaded contains malware, reach out to managed IT services Perth today for further assistance. They can potentially help sort out your current issue and prevent the problem from occurring again in the future.


Downloading unsafe software is one of the quickest ways to get a device hit with malware. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth. Some signs a software might actually be malware is if the website source isn’t legitimate, if it doesn’t pass your virus scanner, or if the user reviews seem fishy. Know the signs, and play it safe online.

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