So, before I discuss how to get rid of malware let’s first define what it is, how to avoid it and how to detect it.
What Is Malware?
Malware (malicious software) consists of spyware, viruses and other undesirable software that is installed onto your mobile device or computer without your permission. These programs can result in your device crashing and may be used to control and monitor your activity online. They also will make your computer susceptible to viruses and convey inappropriate or unwanted ads. Crooks use malware to commit fraud, send out spam and swipe your personal information.
How To Avoid Malware
Scammers try to deceive people into clicking on links that will download spyware, viruses and other undesirable software – frequently it’s bundled with well-known free downloads. To decrease the possibility of downloading malware…
- Install and update security/anti-virus software, and make sure you use a firewall. Set up your operating system (such as Mac OS X or Windows), internet browser and security/anti-virus software to automatically update.
- Do not change the security settings of your browser. You can reduce downloads that are bundled or “drive-by” downloads if you keep the default security settings of your browser.
- Keep an eye out for security warnings your browser alerts you to. Nearly all browsers are equipped with built-in security scanning that warns you prior to visiting an infected website or download a damaging file.
- Rather than clicking any links in an email, directly key in the URL of a trustworthy website into your browser. Crooks send out emails that seem to be from businesses you recognize and trust. The links might appear legitimate, but clicking on them may direct you to a bogus website or download malware.
- Do not open any email attachments unless you know what it is and who sent it to you. Opening an incorrect attachment – even if it appears to be from family or friends – might install malware onto your computer.
- Get popular software directly from its source. Websites that promote all kinds of PDF readers, browswers and other well-known software for free are most likely to bundle them with malware.
- Make sure you read every screen when you are installing new software. If you don’t know a program or you are prompted to install more “bundled” software, exit out of the installation or refuse the extra program.
- Never click on banner ads or pop-ups regarding the performance of your computer. Scammers imbed undesirable software into banner ads that appear genuine, particularly ads regarding the health of your computer. Avoid clicking these advertisements unless you know where it’s coming from.
- Prior to using external devices and USBs, scan them with your security software. These devices might contain malware, particularly, if you use them in places with heavy traffic such as public computers or photo printing stations.
- Talk about computer safety. Speak with your family and friends and tell them that their actions online can put their computer in danger: posting personal information, opening chain emails, downloading “free” programs and games or clicking on pop-ups.
- Regularly back-up your data. Whether it is important documents, photos or taxes, back-up any data you would like to keep in the event that your computer crashes.
Keep an eye on your computer for weird behavior. Malware might be infecting your computer if it …
- Exhibits error messages repeatedly, gets extremely slow or crashes.
- Won’t restart or shut down.
- Bombards you with pop-ups.
- Delivers tasteless ads or ads that mess with your page content.
- Will not let you remove undesirable software.
- Instills ads in places you usually would not see them, like government websites.
- Sends out emails you did not write or exhibits web pages you had no intention of visiting.
Additional malware warning signs include …
- New and unforeseen icons or toolbars on your desktop or in your browser.
- Unanticipated browser changes, such as your default search engine has changed or exhibiting new tabs you did not open.
- A repeated or sudden change of the internet home page in your computer
- A laptop battery draining a lot faster than it should.
How To Get Rid Of Malware
If you think malware is installed on your computer, take the following steps…
- Stop banking, shopping or doing anything else online that involves sensitive information such as names and passwords.
- Bring your security software up to date and then scan for spyware and viruses on your computer. Delete anything the scan indicates as a problem. Remember, in order for the changes to happen, you might have to restart the computer.
- Find out if your web browser has tools to eliminate malware or reset it to the original settings.
- Contact the manufacturer for technical support if the warranty on your computer has it covered. Prior to calling, jot down the serial and model number of your computer, a brief description of what the problem is and the name of any software you have installed.
- A lot of companies – including some associated with retail stores – offer technical support. Online and telephone help typically is cheaper, but searching for help online may not be a good way to find help. Technical support scammers pay to increase their rankings in the search results so their phone numbers and websites appear above genuine companies. If you require technical support, search for the contact information for a company on your receipt or the software package.
Check out this very informative video on protecting your computer from malware…
So, I hope I’ve been able to provide you with some useful information not only on how to get rid of malware, but what it is, how to avoid it and how to detect it. If you believe your computer has been infected with malware, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Only by reporting it, can they try to shut them down.
Has your computer ever been infected by malware? What did you do? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below.
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