Understanding and Preventing a Malware Infection
Just like other aspects of technology, malware is becoming more sophisticated and is advancing at an astonishing rate. Malware is a general term to denote different types of malicious software such as adware, spyware, hijackers, or toolbars just to name a few.
The technological advances over the last couple of decades have been astounding and the internet is, by far, one of the most useful communication tools ever developed. But equally as astounding is the advancement of malicious software being developed by those who intend harm.
What is Malware?
The term, malware, is short for malevolent software. Malware is a general term used to describe code or software used to gather sensitive information or gain unauthorized access to a computer. Since anti-virus software offers little or no protection against many forms of malware, it is important to have dedicated anti-malware software installed on your computer.
Types of Malware
In general, malware can fit into certain categories: adware, spyware, hijackers, and toolbars.
- Adware Ads that appear on your screen in the form of pop-ups, pop-unders, or ads placed on top of websites are often the result of unwanted adware infections. More often than not, standard pop-up blockers cannot block these ads.
- Spyware Spyware is largely used to send information about your computer’s activity to somebody else. Some spyware records the addresses of sites that you visit. Others may report the types of files you download. Still others will search your hard drive for login information, credit card information, or other personal information.
- Hijackers Hijacker malware can gain control of certain aspects of your web browser like your home page or your search bar. Some hijackers redirect your search efforts to questionable search engines. Hijacker malware is notorious for targeting Internet Explorer.
- Toolbars There are many legitimate toolbars such as Yahoo or Google toolbars, but malicious toolbars often emulate the functionality of these legitimate programs. It’s best not to install toolbars unless you are sure of the credentials of the publisher.
Is My Computer Infected?
One of the most obvious signs of malware is pop-ups that appear when you are not connected to the internet. Other strange computer behavior like home page changing and unknown programs loading at startup could also indicate that your computer is infected with malware.
Always watch what you download to your computer. Only download items from reputable publishers. Although many malware programs are benign, some can be very dangerous. It’s best to never store personal information or financial information on your computer. In addition, installing reputable anti-malware, anti-virus, and firewall protection is essential for every computer.
Most importantly, don’t shop, open e-mails from unknown senders, enter personal information, or access your bank accounts online if you suspect your computer is infected with malware.
If you need help with Malware removal or Virus removal call us today at Gerrards Cross 01753 884700 or Beaconsfield 01494 730120