Quick List on Executable File Extensions – Updated

An executable file is a computer that has the ability to run a set of commands on your computer. By now, you should know that any app or program that can run on your computer can contain viruses. And these viruses can create havoc on your computer system. Every time you download a file from the Internet, or copy a file to your computer (from a USB drive, CD, etc.), you should be concerned on whether that file is going to infect your computer.

Recently, I came across this web page that lists many of the executable file types. There are probably some that are missing from this list, but it contains many of them.

List of Executable File Extensions

Below is a PARTIAL list of that page, just for example. Notice that MP3, PDF, MOBI, JPG aren’t on the list. These are files that contain data, not an executable script of code. It’s important to realize the difference, though it’s not unfathomable that these files could be used in the future to transfer malicious code, too. Due diligence is required to keep your computers safe.

UPDATE June 29, 2013: A reader pointed out that I mistakenly added PDF to the “safe file” list. Scott writes:

I want to make one correction to your latest email, specifically, where you reference the web site that you came across and discuss that MP3, PDF, MOBI, JPG are not on the list because they contain data and are not executable script code, etc…

This is a complete mistake. PDF files, JPG files, and may others are the current hotbed for attack. The following website is one that is a good example to show others that PDF (and some other) files are a threat and anything that you introduce to your system should be suspect, even when from a trusted source… http://www.malwaretracker.com/pdfthreat.php

Scott’s exactly right. I should have done further research on PDF files specifically, instead of focusing on executable files. If you’re not running malware detection on your computer (and why not?), you can scan your PDFs for viruses here: wepawet.cs.ucsb.edu.

Make sure you click on the above link for the full list (the below is about half of the concerned filetypes listed).

Extension Format Operating System(s)
ACTION Automator Action Mac OS
APK Application Android
APP Executable Mac OS
BAT Batch File Windows
BIN Binary Executable Windows, Mac OS, Linux
CMD Command Script Windows
COM Command File Windows
COMMAND Terminal Command Mac OS
CPL Control Panel Extension Windows
CSH C Shell Script Mac OS, Linux
EXE Executable Windows
GADGET Windows Gadget Windows
INF1 Setup Information File Windows
INS Internet Communication Settings Windows
INX InstallShield Compiled Script Windows
IPA Application iOS
ISU InstallShield Uninstaller Script Windows
JOB Windows Task Scheduler Job File Windows
JSE JScript Encoded File Windows
KSH Unix Korn Shell Script Linux
LNK File Shortcut Windows
MSC Microsoft Common Console Document Windows
MSI Windows Installer Package Windows
MSP Windows Installer Patch Windows
MST Windows Installer Setup Transform File Windows
OSX Executable Mac OS
OUT Executable Linux
PAF Portable Application Installer File Windows
PIF Program Information File Windows
PRG Executable GEM
PS1 Windows PowerShell Cmdlet Windows
REG Registry Data File Windows
RGS Registry Script Windows
RUN Executable Linux
SCT Windows Scriptlet Windows
SHB Windows Document Shortcut Windows
SHS Shell Scrap Object Windows
U3P U3 Smart Application Windows
VB VBScript File Windows
VBE VBScript Encoded Script Windows
VBS VBScript File Windows
VBSCRIPT Visual Basic Script Windows
WORKFLOW Automator Workflow Mac OS
WS Windows Script Windows
WSF Windows Script Windows
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One Response to Quick List on Executable File Extensions – Updated

  1. Pingback: How to not get infected by a computer virus or other type of malware – /ynef.net

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