Malware is short for malicious software. Malware is a broad term that encompasses computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, adware, and others. Malware is designed to interfere with normal computer operation, usually giving hackers a chance to gain access to your computer and collect sensitive personal information.
How do you know if your computer has Malware?
The telltale signs that your computer is infected with a type of malware are:
- You receive annoying pop-up ads on a regular basis
- A mysterious new toolbar appears on your computer or browser
- Your PC is noticeably slow
- There are new, unfamiliar icons in your system tray
How could your computer get infected with Malware?
The most common ways your computer can get infected with malware are by:
- Installing freeware or shareware
- Installing screen savers or games
- Downloading email attachments
- Clicking on pop-up ads
- Not having antivirus software installed on your computer
What do you do if your computer has Malware?
- Start by running anti-spyware software on a regular basis to catch any programs that may have infected your computer. Some malware programs can be stubborn and difficult to remove, so it might take more than one try.
- Be careful when downloading free programs, especially music files and media sharing programs. Read the licensing agreements to understand exactly what you're downloading.
- Protect your computer with a firewall, especially if you use a broadband connection.
- Use antivirus software to catch computer viruses, worms and Trojan horses before they can do any damage.
- Don't download any programs from websites you don't know or trust.
- Adjust your browser's Internet Zone security settings to provide at least a medium level of security. A lower setting makes it easier for malware to access your computer.
- ActiveX controls are prone to spyware and other malware, so don't approve the installation of any ActiveX controls you haven't already requested.
We recommend using antivirus software to run a scan. If you don't have a solution in mind already, you can download antivirus programs like Norton 360 or McAfee's latest antivirus software.