Top File Extensions That Can Be Potentially Dangerous for Windows

Every bit of data on the internet is saved in a file format with different extensions. But, before downloading any file from an email or the internet, you must stay cautious about some file extensions. In this article, we will mention some file extensions that can be dangerous for your system. Before getting into file extensions, make sure you have active anti-virus software on your PC to protect you from any virus and malware files.

Some file extensions carry a specific code, or they can execute an arbitrary command which can be damaging for your system. Some media file extensions like JPEG and MP3 are considered safe because they cannot carry codes. Still, there have been many cases where the images in the file contain some maliciously crafted image that can put your system’s data at risk.

Some potentially dangerous file extensions are:

.EXE

EXE is an executable file that can run a program and execute commands with a single click. Sometimes, they can self-execute few commands. Files with EXE extensions carry the most potential danger than any other file extensions.  These files can easily transmit any malware, viruses, and spyware. When you open any EXE file without proper scanning, it launches the malware into your system and corrupts it.

.BAT

BAT file is a batch file that contains a list of commands, and when you open it, that series of commands are launched in order. Batch files can be used to transmit binary executable codes into your system. MS-DOS used these files, and their nature of running the series of in-order commands makes it the perfect option for launching any virus or malware into your system.

.SCF

SCF stands for Shell Command File, and these types of files are shortcuts with the run command. These file’s extensions stay invisible even if you have set your extensions to appear. So you will have to stay more aware with a file that has double extensions. The feature that makes these files more dangerous is that once you open the folder containing the SCF file, it automatically triggers the command. The attacker can plant an SCF file containing a non-printable character on the website that you use the most and can easily access your downloaded data from those websites.

.COM

COM file is the original type of program used by MS-DOS. It is similar to the EXE file, and it can be saved in a binary format. Once you open the file that contains malware, it automatically executes the set of instructions intended to harm your system.

.CMD

CMD format was introduced with Windows NT, and it is similar to the BAT file. Despite having similarities with the BAT file, CMD files are run by CMD. These files can be used to write malware, and it can open specific programs on your computer repeatedly, which can make your system slow and vulnerable to crash. These files can also be used to delete specific data in a directory.

.MSI

MSI file is a Microsoft installer file, and it can contain installation information for other applications. These kinds of files are generally used for Windows update and installation of third party software.

.VB/.VBS

VB and VBS files are used for hiding viruses and malware. VBS stands for Virtual Basic Script, and they are written in VBScript scripting language. These files contain code that can be executed within Internet Explorer or Windows through a Windows-based script host.

.WS/.WSF

WSF stands for Windows Script files, and they contain executable scripts with Jscript and VBScript code. They can only run if Windows Scripting Host 2.0 is installed. These files are usually delivered as email attachments and can damage your system if you open it without checking the integrity of its source.

.SCR

SCR is a screensaver file that is used to show vector graphics, animations, slideshows, or videos. These files contain executable codes which makes it the perfect place for programmers to hide any malicious code.

.PIF

PIF files are program information files for MS-DOS programs. Windows treats PIF files the same as EXE files because they don’t contain any executable codes. These files contain information about how MS-DOS programs should run, and these files can be used to transmit harmful viruses and scripts.

.HTML

HTML language is used to create web pages, and this format is the perfect place to hide any Trojans and worms.

.ZIP

ZIP files can easily carry multiple files in a single folder. These files can be used to hide any viruses, and it can transmit it to your system when you unpack the contained files.

How can you avoid hidden malware in files?

In this digital age, your data is always vulnerable to spyware attacks and malware. Viruses can also be transmitted through email attachments and external devices. We receive millions of spam messages daily, and most of them are harmless, but sometimes we come across a malicious file which is designed in such a way that prompts you to open it. It can be in the form of a gift card or coupon codes. You can follow these simple steps to protect yourself from possible viruses or malware:

  • Make sure you have updated anti-virus software which can detect any malicious files.
  • Block commands of automatic execution of file launch or unapproved executables.

Make sure you check the integrity of the file’s source before opening it or running it on your system.

Source:-   File Extensions Dangerous for Windows

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