Can You Get a Virus from a Zip File? [Explained]

When you download a zip file and double-click it, you won’t get infected with a virus. Nevertheless, if you double-click a virus-containing executable, your computer will get infected. In other words, a zip file is completely safe on its own.

Can You Get a Virus from a Zip File

Although, it remains one of the major concerns of computer users whether the zip file from their friends or the internet is malicious or not. Therefore, it is natural to want to verify the zip file before opening it and then running it.

Is It Possible to Get a Virus from a Zip File

There is a fair share of possibility that your computer will catch a virus from a zip file. The most well-known method for sending an.exe file through email is to compress it first, then email the resulting Zip. Lastly, the recipient must unzip it on his end. That’s where spammers’ and hackers’ strategy begins to take shape.

There are numerous files inside zip files. You can’t tell what’s inside a Zip file just by knowing that you have one. To view the compressed files, you must unzip the file. As a consequence, the contents of the Zip file remain always obscured. 

This is the rationale behind how hackers distribute viruses by accessing Zip files. When you attempt to extract the contents of password-protected Zip files and use the files without even having basic hacking expertise, the majority of potential hackers can even hack encrypted Zip files and transmit viruses.

Does Your Computer Get Affected Virus from Downloaded Zip Files

People frequently wonder if downloading a zip file would infect their computer with a virus, which is a normal concern when it comes to downloading these files. In most cases, clicking on malicious links that offer zip file downloads will result in the installation of malware or computer viruses on your system.

Your machine cannot be infected with harmful malware if the zip file download link you used was clean or malware-free. This is because zip files are not executables. Therefore, if the contents of the zip file have not been unzipped before starting the program, your computer won’t be attacked with a virus.

The zip file alone won’t make your machine or the entire network system vulnerable to computer viruses. Only executable dangerous software will do that. Quite often, people will mistakenly click on files without recognizing the files contained in them. 

Users clicking on links without realizing a virus may be present has become a very common way for computers to become infected with malware and other viruses. On the other hand, merely downloading a zip file won’t result in the loading of a virus on your computer. The zip file does not get infected with a virus when you click on it, either.

Do Only Opening Zip Files Get Affected Virus

Generally speaking, a zip file cannot infect your computer with a virus. That being said, any machine can become infected with dangerous malware by opening a zip file containing computer viruses or other malicious software. 

Zip files are safe and beneficial for your PC on their own. However, you might wind up with computer viruses if you click specific items inside the zip file that contain viruses. People with malicious intentions like to hide hazardous files inside zip archives. 

Besides, high-quality media files may be included in the bundled files as bait to tempt unwary people to click the malicious URLs included. Due to this, the zip files’ only contents could contain a range of infections, including viruses, Trojan horses, spyware, and other types of malware.

Does Double Clicking on a Zip File Infect the Computer

Simply double-clicking a Zip file won’t infect you with a virus. When you get a Zip file as an email attachment, double-clicking it will just open it. Even if the file is a real Zip and it contains malware, your machine won’t become infected unless you try to run any of the virus-infested files. 

For instance, assume that you have a Zip package with executable files with the virus virus.exe inside of it. In this scenario, double-clicking a Zip file alone will not infect you with a virus, but double-clicking virus.exe would.

In some circumstances, WinZip will alert you with a notice that you are working with a file type that could potentially infect your computer. That is if you double-click an EXE file packed within a Zip file.

How to Know If a Zip File is Safe

Although the contents of a zip file are typically obscure and hidden until the file is unzipped, there are still several methods you can employ to identify whether or not your zip file contains a virus. The file types that WinZip classifies as “Potentially Unsafe File Types” could damage your computer. EXE is a potentially dangerous file type in this context.

More such examples include ADE, ADP, APP, ASA, ASP, BAS, BAT, CER, CHM, CMD, COM, CPL, EXE, FXP, JSE, KSH, LNK, MAD, etc. Therefore, use caution while extracting a Zip file that has been packed with any of the file types described above.

Can You Get a Virus from Downloading a File, But Not Opening It

Downloading a malicious file to your computer may be sufficient to infect it. As a matter of fact, even if you don’t open or read the email, it is theoretically conceivable to get infected by simply receiving an email containing a malicious attachment.


Virus from zip files is something you would want to avoid at any cost. Make sure you download files only from trusted sources. Also, make sure your system is constantly up to date with the newest patches. Not to mention, a decent anti-virus application on your system helps greatly in this case.

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