Malware is any program or file that is harmful to a computer user. Malware includes computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spyware programming. Malware is easier to avoid than to remove from your computer. Avoid downloading or installing anything you do not understand. Don’t be tempted to buy counterfeit programs like Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Office Suite. Malware is often installed as part of the fake programs installation process allowing criminals to access personal information and infect computers. Online criminals want your financial information including bank account and credit card numbers or gain access to your computer’s processing power. These criminal attacks will have both financial and psychological costs to their victims.
In 2014 over 143 million new malware programs were created with over 326 million versions.
You put yourself at risk when you download programs from unknown websites or from strangers sharing files. Seeking out “free” stuff on the Internet can cost you time and money. This is especially true if you’re browsing and downloading without making sure your computer is protected with anti-virus software.
You can protect yourself from malware by following these easy steps:
- Keep your computer software updated and secure. Software companies release dozens of updates all the time and you need to make sure you have those updates installed as soon as they are released.
- Think twice before installing any new software. You shouldn’t install programs on impulse. Be sure you really need that program before installing, download it from a trusted source and once you finished using it, delete it from your computer if you don’t need it anymore.
- Be wary about pop-up windows, error messages and attachments. Don’t click on pop-up messages that look like Windows error messages and don’t open email attachments unless you are sure they are safe
- Remove SPAM from your email. You can read more about SPAM by following this link.
If you still got infected by malware, you should use a security suite to fully scan your computer. Antivirus companies offer free online scanners that will clean your computer: Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Avira, McAfee.
If that doesn’t work, you can manually remove malware; a collection of guides to remove different types of malware can be found here.