Many of us spend a large amount of time online these days for work and pleasure. It is therefore no surprise that the prospect of being affected by malware is one that concerns many people.
Malware stands for malicious software, and no one is safe from it online. However, there are ways that you can reduce the risk of being affected. Here is a guide to what exactly malware is and how you may be able to tell if your computer has been affected, as well as how to protect yourself online.
Different Types of Malware
Malware> comes in many different forms. It consists of malicious software or code, but this can come in the form of adware, spyware, ransom ware, viruses, Trojan horses, worms, and more.
These all act in different ways, but essentially malware exploits weaknesses in software on your computer in order to get access to your system. Once it does this, problems range from simply causing disruption to stealing confidential details.
For example, some creators of malware may simply want ads to pop up on your system, which can be annoying and can slow your computer down. However, a hacker may want to get access to your passwords, credit card details, and other personal information in order to make money.
They may use things like keystroke logging> in order to do this. This is malware that tracks what you type into your keyboard so a hacker can find out details of your passwords and other information.
How Do You Know If Your Computer Is Infected?
One of the problems with malware is that it is not always obvious that your computer has been infected. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to seek out malware and get rid of it. For example, read a review of Spyhunter 4 and decide whether this could provide you with a suitable solution. Many other programs exist, so do some research and find one that works for you.
But there are a number of possible signs that could indicate your system has been infected by malware. Some of these include:
- a particularly slow system that takes a long time to start up, or where programs are taking a long time to launch. There could be many reasons for this, but malware is one of them.
- if your computer crashes very often, this is a sign that something is wrong, and this could well indicate the presence of malware.
- toolbars appearing automatically on your browser, or websites opening automatically, can indicate that you have unwittingly installed malware on your system.
- numerous popups appearing on your computer for no reason are a very common symptom of an infected computer. These may be nothing more than unwanted adverts, but they can slow down your system considerably and can cause other problems.
- if unwanted programs start up automatically on your computer, malware could well be causing this.
Protecting Yourself from Threats
As well as using specialist software to find malware and get rid of it on your system, remember that prevention is always the best cure.
Your computer firewall is one of the most important lines of defense. Microsoft Windows comes with its own firewall, so use this unless you purchase firewall software separately.
Always use antivirus software and make sure it is always active. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this, and some antivirus software is actually available for free for home use. However, you may want to choose a more comprehensive product that you have to pay for.
Always take care when you go online, and avoid visiting potentially harmful websites or clicking on harmful links. Some antivirus software will warn you about potentially dangerous links to give you even more protection.
Be particularly careful with emails. Don’t open emails that are obviously junk, and only ever open attachments from someone you trust. Some antivirus software products will scan attachments for any risks, which can be a useful feature.
Stay Safe from Malware
Malware is a real threat to anyone using the internet, but you should not let it stop you from getting the most from your online activities. Be aware of the risks and always make sure your antivirus is running. If you suspect your system may have malware, consider investing in some specialist software to check your computer and get rid of anything that should not be there. Overall, remember that as long as you take sensible precautions, you do not need to worry unnecessarily about malware.