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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What is Malware? How do I Fix or Remove it?

Malware - What is it? and How I fix or remove it?

So you're browsing the web, reading up on your favorite news site, catching up with friends on your favorite social media platform, and popups start coming out from nowhere. You didn't open them, so how did it open by itself? If this has happened to you, you most likely have a PC infected with Malware. But don't fret, it's generally fixable with the right tools.

Malware (as defined by Wikipedia) is short for malicious software. Which is any software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems. And quite frankly, it's becoming more and more of a threat to our everyday internet experience.

What can you do to lessen your risk?

Malware can come from a variety of different places. It could come from an infected website, or packaged inside a recent program install you may have done.

Being careful on what websites you visit, what links you click on, etc will play a major role in preventing yourself from getting malware. If you're not familiar with the link/website, or not expecting it, stay away from it. This time of year they like to send out emails that resemble shipping notifications that you'll have to click on to check the status, but be VERY careful that you're really expecting something shipped, AND you're sure the email is from the right person/company. They do a pretty good job of tricking you into thinking it's real.

Another way you get malware is by downloading and installing various programs. As you go through the program install, sometimes you'll see it ask to install other programs too. We always want to make sure we choose NOT to install these. It's good practice when going through an install to choose the "custom install" option, and verify on each screen what they're asking to do is OK with you. They'll get tricky with wording, and hope you just speed click your way through it and not notice it. But now that you're aware of the tricks, hopefully next time you'll catch it before it even gets installed.

What can you do to clean your PC if you've been infected?

Consistently, the top tool to clean up your infected PC would be Malwarebytes. But be sure you ONLY get it directly from their website: Best of all, they have a fully functional free version. Get the free version and scan your PC. Then quarantine any infected items found. Rescan until the scan comes up clean. Remember to scan your PC regularly (at least once a month). If you want to upgrade to the paid version, you can set it to auto scan your PC every so often, plus it will continually monitor your PC for malware. You can get the full version here: Malwarebytes PRO Lifetime
Note: there is a cheaper "Premium" option. But that is a 1 year license. Spend the couple extra dollars and get the lifetime license instead.

Also, its always good to make sure your virus software is top notch. Visit our guide on what virus software we recommend!

After you have cleaned up your PC, I'd like to invite you to come back and comment below on the # of infected files you have cleaned up!

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