By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm
…in Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista, Explorer used to Hide extensions for known file types. And virus writers used this “feature” to make people mistake executables for stuff such as document files.
The trick was to rename VIRUS.EXE to VIRUS.TXT.EXE or VIRUS.JPG.EXE, and Windows would hide the .EXE part of the filename.
Additionally, virus writers would change the icon inside the executable to look like the icon of a text file or an image, and everybody would be fooled.
Surely this won’t work in Windows 7.
As a grizzled old Windows veteran, I remember the days when computer users spent a lot more time thinking about extensions (and we liked it, dagnab it!). It was kind of discombobulating when Microsoft began downplaying them. But Mikko brings up a pretty compelling reason why it’s not a great idea to hide ’em. Wonder if Microsoft has thought about this, and why it hasn’t erred on the side of safety?