Accepting Files on IRC and the Internet in General
Sharing files on IRC is part of what makes IRC fun, however it is important to be careful about who you accept files from and which types of files you accept.
Although most files are safe, there are always a few that may be infected with a virus, or may be malicious programs that try to damage your computer. Since it is impossible to know in advance whether a file that is being sent to you might cause a problem, following a few common sense rules can help:
1) Install anti-virus and firewall software and make sure that they are always up-to-date. They should automatically scan any files that you download. However please note that since IRC is a highly interactive medium where information spreads very quickly, using anti-virus software does not guarantee that a file will be safe, as it takes time for anti-virus and firewall software to be updated.
2) Only accept files from people that you know and trust. You should never accept files from people you do not know and never accept files without knowing what their purpose is, even from someone you know.
3) Files ending in .BAT, .COM, .EXE, .DLL have the most potential to cause problems. You should not accept such files from people you do not know or download them from sites that do not appear trustworthy.
4) Aliases, Popups, or Scripts that can be loaded or typed into your IRC client can also cause problems. mIRC, and most other IRC clients, allow you to create scripts that perform useful functions but these can also cause problems if misused. You should make sure that you know and trust the source of these files before using them.
5) Certain types of Document files can contain macros which are run by your Word Processor when you open the document to view it, so these are also potentially harmful. You should make sure that you have macro-warnings turned on in your Word Processor. It is also safer to view any documents that you receive in a plain-text editor first if possible.