What are the risks of running a Remote Desktop Protocol (.rdp) file?

A Remote Desktop Protocol (.rdp) file contains all of the information for a remote connection, including the settings that were configured when the file was saved. People use .rdp files to log on to a particular remote computer. For example, if you needed to access some business files on a remote computer, your system administrator might give you an .rdp file so that you can log on to that remote computer.

Just as opening files with .exe, .com, and some other types of file name extensions can be risky, opening an .rdp file can potentially expose your computer to viruses or worms that can delete files or spread viruses to other computers. Worms can also make your computer slow or less stable, or make its contents available to other people. There's always some risk when you run a program someone sends you, but here are some precautions you can take:

  • Install and use an antivirus program.

    Antivirus programs scan files before opening them and notify you if a file is potentially unsafe. Be sure to keep your antivirus program up to date.

  • Only run programs from people or websites that you trust.