What is Malware and what you can do to protect yourself

Date Published: July 17, 2019
Last Modified: November 4, 2020 @ 5:25 pm

What is Malware?

 

Malware is another word for “Malicious Software”, which means any software or code that is harmful to computers or devices, anything that runs on an electronic computer. These programs can cause considerable damage that you may need a computer technician to remove.

Some terms that represent Malware can be hostile, intrusive, intentionally damaging, evasive, taking control over a computers operations that is not inline with what it was created for.

The reason for Malware is for the creators to damage your computer, steal information, gain control or to gain money from you illegally and without good conduct.

Although Malware doesn’t generally damage hardware (but in some rare cases can). The main control Malware can have is to steal important information and files, encrypt data or delete data, alter or take over computer functions and spy on your activity without you knowing and without your permission.

 

What are the signs of a Malware Infection

Even thou there are different grades of malware and all act differently some of the things that happen when you have caught a Malware are the following:

  • Slowing down of your computer, your computer will generally slow down and internet browsing will take longer than usual.
  • You will get lots of annoying pop up ads showing on your computer as well as your browser.
  • You may notice your computer crashing, freezing or showing blue screens.
  • Your hard drive may fill up without you knowing why.
  • You will notice more internet activity than usual and your internet may slow down.
  • System resources can go higher than normal and cause the computer to take much longer in processing normal tasks. Which can also increase your computers fan speed making a noisy computer.
  • Your browsers home page can be changed to a different website address which in turn shows popups and ads.
  • You may notice new extensions or plugins within your browser.
  • Your antivirus software can stop working, disappear or not even start or update.
  • Even if your computer seems to be running fine, there is a possibility of Malware hiding deep in your computer.

How do you get Malware?

Malware can get into your computer a number of different ways including the following:

  • Through your internet (anytime your on the internet you have a chance of picking something up)
  • Looking at your emails (be careful not to open any attachments your not sure about)
  • Logging onto WIFI networks when out shopping.
  • Using borrowed or found USB sticks or devices.
  • Downloading demo software
  • Installing browser addons
  • Installing applications

 

Be careful of permission requests when authorising software or installing programs.

Make sure you double check email authenticity before clicking any links or enabling to load remote content if you email program. As well as make sure you have anti-virus software running to help mitigate attacks or part of the attacks.

There are many forms of Malware which have different names for example: viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, rootkits, etc.

 

What to do if you think you have Malware on your computer?

 

The first thing you can do to help you remove any instances of Malware from you computer is to run some security tool and do a full scan of the computer (if you are able to install and run the software). This should help to find any Malware hiding in any part of the computer. (not all anti-viruses can detect all malware so you may need to use a few different ones.)

If you are using Windows 10, it has the new and improved version of Windows Defender that works great for a scan of your computer. After than run another popular anti-virus tool like Avast or Bitdefender. They usually have free versions you can install to do a scan.

After the cleaning has taken place. Try out your computer to see if everything is working properly. If everything seems okay then you should be okay, but if you encounter more problems its highly recommended to consult a technician as some Malware can cause system damage that will need to be repaired.

Left over a damage from Malware can include the following:

  • Missing files
  • Missing Drive Letters
  • Inability to boot computer
  • Random Blue Screens
  • Missing system files
  • Damaged drivers (devices wont work properly)
  • Software wont open or shows errors
  • Cant detect certain hardware
  • Files showing random symbols (possible encrypted files)
  • High resource usage
  • Cant browse the internet
  • Cant connect to the network

If you notice problems like this after you have run some cleaning programs, we recommend you ask a technician for help as in time it can progress into more problems.

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