Is 7-Zip Safe?
Are you worried that 7-Zip is an infected program and it is not safe to use on your computer? Your worry is not entirely meaningless. There have been questions regarding the authenticity of this software in the past. In this article, we will know about these questions and answer to the biggest one “Is 7-Zip safe?”
What is it?
7-Zip is a file archiver software that compresses the files in different formats including 7z. It is a free and open source program. The license of most parts of the source code is under GNU LGPL license. You can also use the program with command line interface and Graphical User Interface. It compresses the multiple files into one archive file for easy transportation and less storage. 7-Zip is being used for more than 18 years.
VirusTotal analyses a program and checks its status with different antivirus engines. We uploaded the 7-Zip installer on VirusTotal to see its score. It gets a 0/68 score. Meaning 68 antivirus engines are considering it as a safe program. I uploaded both 32 and 64-bit installer, and they didn't have any infection. I would say it’s a pretty good score. It also has a +82 community score meaning users are also considering it as a safe program.
Problems Faced in Past
In May 2016, Cisco's Talos researchers discovered some flaws in the 7-Zip program. They said it could have compromised many users data. Various software like antiviruses and security devices uses 7-Zip, they didn't realize the flaws in the library and kept using them. However, developers fixed the flaws and released the version 16 with patches.
There is a massive list of vendors who used 7-Zip library in their program. These vendors didn't update the library and wouldn't bother to look for vulnerabilities in the third-party software. It would have been affected lots of users because hackers could have been easily exploited the flaws and could take control as the program.
If we look into the user’s opinion from the forums, most users reported it safe. On TomsGuide Forum Dunlop0078 said -
Yes it is safe I have been using it for years. Where did you download it? Get it from here: http://www.7-zip.org/
Most users didn't download the 7-Zip from the official site, and then they get bundled adware, browser hijackers, PUPs. It is the reason he recommends it download from the official website.
A user asked that Windows defender is warning about the unverified publisher. Should I install it? Groomer replied -
Another user jamescv7 said -
There are questions regarding the authenticity of the 7-Zip, but most users are saying the official website provides a clean installer.
Company Info and Reputation
Igor Pavlov developed the 7-Zip, he released the beta version in 1999. Since then many features have been introduced to the program. With time they included different file formats and kept updating it. The last update to 7-Zip was in April 2018.
Being an open source program, many developers have been looking to its code and fixing its flaws. 7-Zip is running for more than 19 years. Few people might have been clone the software and bundles malware with it, but such installer was not on the official website. With such a history and reputation we surely can trust on 7-Zip.
Still, if you think that 7-Zip is not safe for you, then you can try some other options.
- 1PeaZip - A free and open source file archiver utility.
- 2Bandizip - A free file archiver for home and office use, support popular formats.
- 3Zipware - Free alternative to 7-Zip with simple interface.
- 4Hamster Zip Archiver - Well designed interface with limited file format support.
- 5Ashampoo Zip Free - Simple interface with preview before extract feature.
If you are worried about the security of your computer, I would suggest you do not install any cleaner app and give a try to Windows inbuilt compress tool. You can right click on any folder or file and choose Send to> Compressed (zipped) option.
People have been using 7-Zip for almost 2 decades, and users still trust it. Many other software vendors are using 7-Zip libraries with their program. I understand, there has been an incident in the past, but developers have fixed them. Beyond that VirusTotal also has cleared it. I can say that it is a genuine software with no infection. Few users who complain about some malware might not have downloaded it from the official website. If you still don't trust it then download and install MalwareFox antimalware and scan 7-Zip with it. Keep its real-time protection on so that it can protect you from any harmful software.