Are zip files safe?

528    Asked by Ankesh Kumar in Cyber Security , Asked on Feb 3, 2022

Is there any possibility of malware infection in Windows 10 for the following three situations: When you download a zipped file, but do not use it (you do not open it)?

When you only open a zipped file (with 7-zip), but do not extract/run its content? When you download a ".html" file, but do not open it?

Answered by ananya Pawar

Browsers such as Chrome have a built-in malware download scanner which help detect malware in most files that you download.

The question - are ZIP Files safe can be answered as ZIP files themselves normally add in a layer of protection from any .exe file from being accidentally used on your computer, as the file itself is encoded in the compression algorithm. The closest thing to a 'ZIP file virus' is a Zip Bomb, but that is only when you extract a petabyte text file from a zip file. Zip Bombs can be stopped on modern hardware and you can just delete the file that is now taking up your entire hard drive.

EXE/MSI/VBS files of any flavor will not run a virus, trojan, etc. until the user manually double clicks the file to run it. As long as you have the latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, Edge, etc. you should be fine. However, there is only a slight possibility that whatever downloading software that you use, such as ie6, that on download, the code can be executed using an exploit., see Drive By Download. HTML may contain ads and other annoying popups using javascript, but modern browsers help protect you with those problems, especially malicious sites which may trick you into thinking that your computer has a 'virus' using a phishing antivirus page. One of the oldest tricks used was to use a popup that told you that you needed the latest version of flash to view content and would download a virus called 'setup.exe', but that still required you to double click and install.

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