I have downloaded quite some Tumblr videos, both cat videos, funny clips, porn. I downloaded them manually, you can save them with right click and save-as with right method - no download program used.

I have old external hard drive where I keep them, downloaded both in Mac and in Windows. After clean install (due to technical issues not malware), I was going to put my collection back to fresh Mac, but heard these videos could contain malicious code/trojans/malware?

Haven't done it for a month now - likely never will again just in case - but it would be pity to delete them all so... do I have to for security reasons?

My question is - how likely could videos downloaded from Tumblr be malicious? After all, it is one platform for many different blogs - cat videos, funny clips, porn - they are all uploaded to same server so how likely is they can be infected by a) uploader b) tumblr itself?

1 Answer 1


Short answer yes but probably -- no.

You should definitely keep your videos. Don't delete them because you're concerned they could contain malicious data that could trigger errors in the video codec implementations that will lead to code execution on your computer. In fact waiting for some time will lower the likelihood of getting infected since any attack vectors will be invalidated in newer versions of codecs/applications. Keep your video players up to date. Don't use unsupported software which is not receiving updates.

If you like to still download and watch those cute movies and have a better conscience I would propose you install VirtualBox and a simple linux distribution for watching and downloading and have backups from your movies. Should that virtual system be infected by whatsoever thingie, just delete that virtual system and install a new one. Infecting a virtual system AND breaching the Hypervisor (the technique that drives virtual box, vmware et al.) is not very likely.

And remember to have BACKUPS! Then you are quite on the safe side. Let there be cat videos.

Adding to this, it may be also possible to share your media on your local network and watch it with guarded devices / OSs like an iPad running a non jailbroken recent system.

Some notes about downloads:

Downloading a file will not infect your system unless it is run or interpreted (like displaying a JPEG oder a Video or running javascript code). So browsing a site may infect your system, since the web-browser will interpret all kind of files not just the desired video. You could use a web scraper like jDownloader or something else to just download stuff from a given URL. My opinion is they do less interpretation. But who knows.

  • Thank you! This reminds me, what about saving and playing webm files in Mac? Is the likelihood of those having infections harmful for Mac exactly the same as with videos or images? Not higher I mean?
    – Rodercik
    Feb 16, 2017 at 12:45
  • WebM is a well known video container format. It is supported by VLC and many browsers. So... you're not endangered more or less than with other well known formats. Keep your software up to date and use virtualisation if you need stronger security.
    – itsafire
    Feb 16, 2017 at 13:20
  • Another use case: share your videos on your local network and watch them with guarded OSs like iOS.
    – itsafire
    Feb 16, 2017 at 13:24

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