Malware is a term used to describe a broad class of damaging software which includes viruses, worms, trojan horses, rootkits, spyware, and adware. The effects of malware range from brief annoyance to computer crashes and identity theft. Malware is easier to avoid than it really is to remove. Avoiding malware involves a two-part strategy. Follow these guidelines for staying safe.
Prevent Malware With Smart On-Line Behavior
The single biggest factor in preventing a malware infection on your own PC is you. You do not want expert knowledge or specific training. You just need vigilance to prevent downloading and installing anything that you don’t understand or trust, regardless how tempting, from the following sources:
From a site: If you’re unsure, leave the site and research the software you’re being asked to install. If it is OK, you can always come back to site and install it. If it is not OK, you will avoid a malware problem.
From e mail: Do not trust anything related with a junk e mail. Approach e mail from folks you know with caution when the message contains links or attachments. If you’re distrustful of what you’re being asked to view or install, do not do it.
From physical media: Your friends, family, and associates may unknowingly give you a disk or flash drive with an infected file on it. Don’t blindly accept these files; scan your friends with security software. If you’re still uncertain, do not accept the files.
From a popup window: Some pop-up windows or boxes will try to corner you into downloading software or accepting a free “system scan” of some type. Often these popups will apply scare tactics to make you consider you need what they may be offering in order to be safe. Close the pop-up without clicking anything inside it (including the X in the corner). Close the window via Windows Task Manager (press Ctrl-Alt-Delete).
From another piece of software: Some programs attempt to install malware as a part of their own setup procedure. When installing software, pay close attention to the message boxes before clicking Next, OK, or I Agree. Scan the user arrangement for anything that suggests malware might be a part of the installation. If you are uncertain, cancel the setup, check up on the application, and run the setup again if you discover it’s safe.
From illegal file-sharing services: You are on your own if you enter this kingdom. There is little quality control in the realm of illegal software, and it is not hard for an attacker to name a piece of malware after a popular movie, record, or application to tempt you into downloading it.
Remove Malware With the Right Software
Odds are that however attentive you are, you may be infected some day. That’s because malware is made to sneak onto your computer in ways you can’t possibly foresee. Enlist the help of the following software:
An upgraded operating system: Use Windows Update. Take advantage of its ability to automatically notify you of updates, or better yet, to automatically download and install updates.
An updated browser: Whichever browser you use, keeping it current is vital to preventing infection. Take advantage of your browser’s pop-up blocking, downloading screening, and automatic update attributes.
Antivirus software: You must run an antivirus application to be safe. Ensure that it stays updated, turned on, and schedule a scan to run at least once per month. (Don’t run two antivirus programs; they will interfere with one another.)
Anti-malware: Additionally called anti-spyware, many antivirus programs include an anti-malware component. If yours does not, install and use a standalone anti-malware program that doesn’t conflict with your antivirus software. Ensure that it stays updated.
Firewall: If you’ren’t running a third party firewall, use Windows Firewall. (Do not run two firewalls at once; they will interfere with one another.)
Spam filter: If your e-mail program isn’t satisfactorily filtering spam from your in box, contemplate additional spam filtering software. If your security software is a security package, spam filtering may be a feature that you simply need to switch on.