A Hidden Windows Security Problem
One of the default settings in Windows is pretty dangerous.
Microsoft's default setting in their File Manager is to "HIDE the file extension of known types". While this sounds harmless, it's actually one of the most common sources of computer viruses, because it makes it hard to tell what kind of file you are actually opening.
Every file has an extension, and by now, most of us recognize the most common ones, such as:
.JPG for pictures
.PDF for printable documents
XLS and .XLSX for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets
.DOC and .DOCX for Microsoft Word files
.EXE for executable programs
Since those are "known types", Microsoft's default behavior is to "Hide" the extension. So a file called "FunnyCat.JPG" is shown simply as "FunnyCat". While that sounds harmless on the surface, it creates a much bigger problem when somebody intentionally sends you a virus that ends with .exe, and Windows HIDES the .EXE extension, making it harder to spot as a program.
Making matters worse, if a spammer really wants to confuse you, they can send you a filename with 2 different extensions, such as FunnyCat.JPG.EXE. Since the rightmost extension is .EXE, Windows doesn't show you the EXE at the end, so it's listed as FunnyCat.JPG, which LOOKS entirely safe.
That's why Microsoft should change the default setting, so that every file extension is VISIBLE by default. In today's video, I show you how to make the change yourself.
Joe Crescenzi, Founder
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