Hackers try different methods to hack your system and one of the common ways of hacking is by disguising malicious files with fake extensions. When you try to open that file, it will execute and can destroy your machine. Some of the ways used by hackers to hide viruses in files with fake extensions are discussed here.
What is a Computer Virus?
A computer virus is actually a computer program that gets installed in your system usually when you are browsing the Internet. These programs, when executed, infect your computer. Viruses can be used for many purposes. Hackers try to gain access to your computer to steal valuable information from your system like your passwords, bank account details, email account details etc. As a user, you should make sure you have antivirus software installed in your computer that can protect your system from virus attacks. Files with fake extensions are a favorite way of hackers to get you to download a virus.
Who is a Hacker?
A hacker is a person who tries to take control over your system and get confidential details about you from your system with the help of a virus that got installed in your computer. Hackers then misuse the data received from your system and try to benefit from the information, which creates issues for you.
Different Ways Hackers Hide Viruses in Files with Fake Extensions
- By Unitrix method: Hackers use different methods to infect your computer with a virus. With the Unitrix method, a hacker uses special characters in the computer coding. These characters are Unicode, so they reverse the order of the file name characters. This method hides the dangerous file extensions in the middle of the filename and puts harmless file extensions towards the end of the filename. A common example of this type of method is: In “Song[U+202e]3pm.SCR,” the Unicode used by the hacker is U+202e. When you download this file, it will look like an ordinary mp3 file”Song.mp3”. By running this file, the virus will infect your system. It is advised that you keep an eye on the type of files you are downloading and download only from sites you trust so that you can protect your system from viruses in files with fake extensions.
- Hiding file extension with the help of Windows: Even though computer users all over the world know that it is not safe to run unwanted and untrusted .exe files on the system. However, when we get a .JPEG file or .GIF file, we always open it without worrying about virus attack. The main problem here is that Windows, by default, hides file extensions. That means the actual file name you are trying to open may be “Star.JPEG.exe,” but because of the property of Windows, you will be seeing only “Star.JPEG.” Most hackers use this method to hide viruses in files with fake extensions.
- Using the standard image icon method: Adding a common and standard image icon to the virus file is a way to attract a user to the file and make him open it. For example, the hacker may have a virus file “Flower.JPEG.exe.” The hacker will ensure that he gives a flower icon to the file. Windows, by default, hides the extension of the file. So, it will show the file as “Flower.JPEG.exe” with a flower icon. When a person sees this, he will be tempted to open the file to see the image, and when he does that, the virus will be uploaded into the system. Most hackers use this easy trick to infect computers with files with fake extensions.
You should always be extra careful when running programs and opening files from untrusted emails. By enabling the option to show file extensions, you can protect your system from files with fake extensions.