Do you know what file extensions are? A friend of mine once asked me to help her search for a device driver. I asked her for the file extension, and she went blank on me. I was quite surprised that there are a good number of PC users who don’t know what the term means.
File extensions are indicators of the type of information that are stored therein. They are the last three characters forming the file after the dot. In case you’re still flipping the dictionary for the IT gobbledygook, just think of .COM or .EXE.
The letters after the dot tell us a lot about what the file is all about. We all know that .EXE and .COM files are executable ones, meaning they run a program. So whenever you’re thrown a bunch of files and you don’t know which one to click in order to activate the application, just look for the one which has a .EXE or .COM extension.
Recognizing file extensions was very important during the time when DOS still ruled over PCs. Before the advent of Windows, users had to find the right executable file in order to activate the program. This is a bit of a hassle, especially if the application has hundreds of files comprising it.
Of course, rummaging through hundreds or thousands of files in different folders just to run a program is already a thing of the past. You could easily open up an application by simply looking for its icon. However, this doesn’t mean that file extension recognition is something that one doesn’t need anymore. On the contrary, the knowledge to identify file types is already being considered as indispensable.
We all know that malware attacks have increased exponentially over the past several years. While hackers are to blame for this, it is the users who are blamed for the fruit that the former have planted. It’s enraging that malware authors get international notoriety while we victims bear the brunt of their work. In a way, it is true that we are partly to blame for the misfortunes that we’re encountering on the Internet. We are simply too careless.
Jack in the Box
Many of us are just too eager to open files that are sent to us, even by persons who we don’t know. These files are usually given to us through e-mail. The files are cunningly or surreptitiously being presented as something that’s innocent or interesting, such as a picture of Angelina Jolie or an amorous love letter of a married celebrity to another woman. While these files may be damaging to the Hollywood stars in question, they are not exactly harmful to the ones opening them, that is, if the files are really what they purport to be.
For example, there are malicious e-mail attachments which claim to be image files. Image files usually bear the extensions .JPG, .GIF, or .PNG. The subject or heading of the mail indicates that it’s a graphic or image file. However, if you’ll look closely at the filename, you’ll notice that it’s .EXE or .COM. The attachment is obviously not a picture file, but an executable one. That file, however small, could definitely wreak havoc on your system, corrupting your Windows registry and other indispensable system files.
Be very careful when opening attachments. The file may look very innocent, but trouble is usually packaged in that way. Invest on an antivirus software and on a registry cleaner, such as RegCure. Don’t let yourself be surprised by the jack in your e-mail box.
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